Around midnight, the missing girl texted a friend, saying she was frightened by a student she had met that evening. “Idk what to do,” she wrote. “I’m scared.” When she did not answer a call, the friend began searching for her.
In the early-morning hours on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in central New York, the friend said, he found her — bent over a pool table as a football player appeared to be sexually assaulting her from behind in a darkened dance hall with six or seven people watching and laughing. Some had their cellphones out, apparently taking pictures, he said.
Later, records show, a sexual-assault nurse offered this preliminary assessment: blunt force trauma within the last 24 hours indicating “intercourse with either multiple partners, multiple times or that the intercourse was very forceful.” The student said she could not recall the pool table encounter, but did remember being raped earlier in a fraternity-house bedroom.
The football player at the pool table had also been at the fraternity house — in both places with his pants down — but denied raping her, saying he was too tired after a football game to get an erection. Two other players, also accused of sexually assaulting the woman, denied the charge as well. Even so, tests later found sperm or semen in her vagina, in her rectum and on her underwear.
It took the college just 12 days to investigate the rape report, hold a hearing and clear the football players. The football team went on to finish undefeated in its conference, while the woman was left, she said, to face the consequences — threats and harassment for accusing members of the most popular sports team on campus.
A New York Times examination of the case, based in part on hundreds of pages of disciplinary proceedings — usually confidential under federal privacy laws — offers a rare look inside one school’s adjudication of a rape complaint amid a roiling national debate over how best to stop sexual assaults on campuses.
Whatever precisely happened that September night, the internal records, along with interviews with students, sexual-assault experts and college officials, depict a school ill prepared to evaluate an allegation so serious that, if proved in a court of law, would be a felony, with a likely prison sentence. As the case illustrates, school disciplinary panels are a world unto themselves, operating in secret with scant accountability and limited protections for the accuser or the accused.
At a time of great emotional turmoil, students who say they were assaulted must make a choice: Seek help from their school, turn to the criminal justice system or simply remain silent. The great majority — including the student in this case — choose their school, because of the expectation of anonymity and the belief that administrators will offer the sort of support that the police will not.
Yet many students come to regret that decision, wishing they had never reported the assault in the first place.
The woman at Hobart and William Smith is no exception. With no advocate to speak up for her at the disciplinary hearing, panelists interrupted her answers, at times misrepresented evidence and asked about a campus-police report she had not seen. The hearing proceeded before her rape-kit results were known, and the medical records indicating trauma were not shown to two of the three panel members.
One panelist did not appear to know what a rape exam entails or why it might be unpleasant. Another asked whether the football player’s penis had been “inside of you” or had he been “having sex with you.” And when the football player violated an order not to contact the accuser, administrators took five months to find him responsible, then declined to tell her if he had been punished.
Hobart and William Smith officials said they have “no tolerance for sexual assault” and treat all complaints seriously, offering emotional support, counseling and, when necessary, extra security and no-contact orders. They said the school’s procedures offer students a fair hearing and were followed in this case. But they cited privacy laws in declining to answer specific questions.
“Campuses are really frustrated by knowing so much about a given case and how reasonable they were and they can’t tell this story,” said Brett A. Sokolow, a legal adviser to the school. “It’s easy to paint them as the bad guy because they are in a position where they can’t defend themselves.”
Yet privacy laws did not stop Hobart and William Smith from disclosing the name of the woman — a possible rape victim — in letters to dozens of students. “I’m surprised they didn’t attach my picture,” she said.
After that disclosure, the woman spoke with her parents and agreed to have The Times use her first name, Anna, as well as her photograph.
The school said it was legally obligated to identify Anna to students who might have been called to testify in a possible criminal proceeding. The district attorney who was assessing the case disagreed, calling the identification “unnecessarily specific and, in my mind, a poor exercise of judgment.”
A second female student at Hobart and William Smith, who was sexually assaulted at a fraternity party in October 2012, told The Times that one of her two assailants had had his punishment reduced on appeal because of poor questioning by the school’s disciplinary panel. Like Anna, the student said friends of the accused had retaliated against her for reporting the assault.
Colleges nationwide are navigating the treacherous legal and emotional terrain of sexual assault. In May, the federal Department of Education disclosed for the first time the names of colleges — 55 in all, including Hobart and William Smith — under investigation for possibly violating federal rules aimed at stopping sexual harassment.
Afterward, Hobart and William Smith’s president, Mark D. Gearan, sent letters to the college community, saying the school was confident it had not violated federal law. The school’s policies and procedures “reflect our commitment to creating and maintaining an academic environment that is free from sexual harassment and misconduct,” wrote Mr. Gearan, a former Peace Corps director and White House aide to Bill Clinton. This summer, a committee of faculty, staff and students is studying whether the school can deal more effectively with sexual misconduct.
Turning to the police may not offer a more equitable alternative. For example, as The Times reported in April, the Tallahassee police conducted virtually no investigation of a Florida State University student’s rape complaint against the star quarterback Jameis Winston.
College administrators have their own incentive to deal with such cases on campus, since a public prosecution could frighten parents, prospective students and donors. Until last year, Hobart and William Smith’s chief fund-raiser also helped oversee the school’s handling of sexual assaults. The two functions are now separate.
While the school explained to Anna that talking to the police was an important option, she said, she decided against it after a school administrator said it would be a longer, drawn-out process. When she changed her mind six months later, the district attorney, R. Michael Tantillo, said he had “virtually nothing to work with” and quickly closed the case.
Although federal officials estimate that up to 20 percent of college students will be sexually assaulted in school, Mr. Tantillo said he rarely heard of such reports at Hobart and William Smith. “I guess that’s your job to find out why,” he told a reporter.
The Red Zone
Hobart and William Smith, on a hill overlooking Seneca Lake, deep in Finger Lakes wine country, is technically two small liberal-arts colleges — Hobart for men, William Smith for women. Its 2,300 students share the same campus, classes, dorms and overall administration, but receive degrees from their respective schools.
It took one visit for Anna to know this was where she wanted to be. “You could see out on the lake — literally, felt like this is what heaven looks like,” she said.
Saying goodbye at the beginning of school, Anna’s mother was comforted by a professor who had been in touch with her daughter. ” ‘She really sounds like something,’ ” she recalled him saying. “He said: ‘This is a very preppy place. I’m going to look out for her.’ ”
Anna, who considers herself anything but preppy, quickly grasped the challenge. “It was really a culture shock for me,” she said. “A lot of the girls, they look alike, and I’m not small and have blonde hair and $500 sunglasses.” So she searched for students “who didn’t fit into that stereotypical William Smith girl.”
There was something else: She had entered what is commonly known as the Red Zone, a period of vulnerability for sexual assaults, beginning when freshmen first walk onto campus until Thanksgiving break.
“Students arrive and you have a new environment, new social circle and the fear that goes with new expectations,” said Robert S. Flowers, vice president for student affairs. That can lead to experimentation, including excessive drinking and attendant problems.
For that reason, the school held what students call rape seminars, the first in a program that, Mr. Flowers said, has made Hobart and William Smith a leader in preventing sexual violence.
Anna and her girlfriends often joked about how the national rape estimates might affect them. “They kept repeating the statistics,” she said, and “every night we would go out we would be like, ‘Oh, who’s going to be the one?’ ”
It took just 14 days to find out, Anna said.
Whether one believes the accuser or the accused, it would be hard to dispute that what happened was a life-altering experience that ruptured Anna’s nascent friendships, damaged her health, traumatized her family and derailed her college plans.
Emotionally battered, Anna later took a leave and returned home. “I do not recognize myself — I have become someone that I hate,” she said. “It was such a toxic environment that I needed to be home and try and find myself again.”
The fraternity houses, where so many parties occur, sit high above the lake. And it was at one fraternity, Kappa Sigma, where sometime between 9:30 and 10 p.m. on Sept. 7, Anna attended one of the year’s first big social events — a “highlighter party,” where students write on one another’s clothes with a marker that glows under black light.
Later there was dancing. Anna and a senior football player she had just met were grinding to the music, rubbing their bodies together.
With so many students packed together in the basement, it became hot, and the football player escorted Anna upstairs, where smaller groups congregated in students’ bedrooms. A friend tried to stop her, but she went anyway.
Anna said she had begun the evening drinking shots of rum mixed into Gatorade. She drank one beer at the dance, she said, and then the rest of an opened beer her dance partner had given her.
Around midnight, a fraternity member tried to enter his room, but found it locked. He opened the door with his key and caught a glimpse of what would become a pivotal episode in Anna’s case: The senior football player was naked, and Anna was sitting on a bed with her top off, covering her breasts. The visitor quickly left.
About the same time, Anna texted the friend who had tried to intervene earlier; she had asked him to hold her keys because she had a hole in her pocket, and wanted them back. A subsequent message was darker, talking of hookups. “He got ten guys to try and hu with me,” Anna wrote and added, “I’m scared.” She would later tell the hearing panel that she had exaggerated the number to get her friend’s attention.
She texted again for her keys, and then wrote, “He won’t leave me.”
Her friend tried calling, but got no response. Around 1 a.m., he asked another student to check Anna’s room. She wasn’t there. “We need to find her ASAP,” he texted, adding, “She is so drunk.”
Eventually he tracked her to a building called the Barn, a dance hall favored by students who do not belong to fraternities. Inside the dimly lit room, a D.J. played music near a couple of pool tables.
Around 1:25 a.m., after 10 minutes of searching, the friend said, he found Anna “bent over the pool table face down with her back towards the wall.” She and the senior football player had their pants down, he said, “and it was clear they were having sex.”
Anna “had a scared look on her face,” he said, as six or seven people, perhaps five feet away, were “looking and laughing.”
Anna’s friend, a freshman who was also a football player, approached his teammate and told him that he was being disrespectful and had “crossed the line.”
“It wasn’t me, it was her,” the teammate replied.
The friend walked Anna back to her dorm. On the way, another student saw her crying.
To this day, Anna says she remembers nothing about the Barn, the pool table or what happened there.
It wasn’t long before students in Anna’s dorm realized something wasn’t right. She was pale and disoriented. After she tried to vomit, classmates changed her clothes and put her to bed. Yet they continued to worry, fearing she had been drugged and raped.
One friend remembered that she had asked a football player earlier if he knew where Anna was. He smirked and made a crude allusion to a sexual act with Anna. “I felt very uncomfortable and got up and left,” she said. Anna later identified him as one of her assailants.
Soon word spread that something untoward had happened at the Barn.
“The girls and I decided we should call campus security,” one friend said. “We knew something was really wrong.”
At 2:10 a.m., Sgt. Anthony Pluretti arrived to find 10 to 15 students outside Anna’s room. After talking to her and realizing that she “could not remember how many drinks she had consumed and that she had no idea that she was at the Barn,” Sergeant Pluretti called campus paramedics, he wrote in a report.
They recommended that a hospital evaluate her. The closest one with a trained sexual-assault nurse was 20 to 30 minutes away in Canandaigua.
The friend who had walked Anna home from the Barn accompanied her to the hospital. As the hours passed, he later told school officials, she began to talk about what had happened at Kappa Sigma: She was in a room with several boys and girls who left her alone with the football player; three times she refused his request for sex; two other football players entered the room, and she was sexually assaulted.
She did not go into great detail, the friend said, because she was “just beginning to remember what happened.”
Around 7:30 in the morning, the nurse told Sergeant Pluretti that she had found “internal abrasions and heavy inflammation” and believed that Anna had suffered a forceful sexual assault.
No date-rape drugs were found, but based on tests at the hospital, her blood-alcohol level at the time of the first sexual encounter would have been about twice what is considered legally drunk. While driving Anna back to her dorm, Sergeant Pluretti reported, he pulled over four times so she could vomit.
He tried to comfort her, explaining that the school “would respond in whatever manner that would support her,” and that she should not feel rushed or pressured into deciding what to do, including whether to file a police report. She did express a desire to see a counselor after she had slept.
Back at Anna’s home, around 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, her mother was entertaining guests when the phone rang. “The caller ID said Geneva, and I knew that was bad,” she recalled. The caller identified herself as Maria Finger, a psychologist at the school.
“Are you sitting down?” she asked.
Behind Closed Doors
After a few hours of sleep, Anna gave a statement to the Office of Campus Safety. Other students provided their own statements, including the three accused football players. (They are not being identified in this article because the school cleared them.)
The first football player — who had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in 2012 after being arrested for fighting and resisting arrest — was given a no-contact order, with a warning: “You should not involve your friends in any manner to breach this order.” Yet he twice asked one of the other two players to talk to Anna and check on her. He also texted one of Anna’s friends, who then texted her: “He wants me to explain something to you. I don’t necessarily believe him, but I wanna tell you his side to see if anything clicks considering that you don’t remember some of it.”
Now it was the school’s responsibility under federal law to evaluate the allegations and, if necessary, hold a hearing.
At 3:14 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, a three-member panel convened behind closed doors to begin adjudicating Anna’s complaint.
Such hearings are usually confidential. But The Times obtained a transcript of the proceedings.
The hearing, not dissimilar to what happens at many colleges, bore little resemblance to a court proceeding. Neither the accuser nor the accused were allowed to have lawyers or family members present. They could bring “advisers,” but they would be voiceless advisers, prohibited from speaking.
The panelists could act pretty much as they wished, including questioning Anna about internal college reports and witness statements that she was not shown. Also absent were the usual courtroom checks and balances. The panel acted as prosecutor, judge and jury, questioning students and rendering judgment. All members were supposed to be trained for this delicate assignment.
The chairwoman, Sandra E. Bissell, vice president of human resources, was joined by Brien Ashdown, an assistant professor of psychology, and Lucille Smart, director of the campus bookstore, who the school said had expressed an interest in serving.
Boiled down, the complaint alleged that the senior football player had sexually assaulted Anna at the fraternity house while a second player inserted his penis into her mouth. At some point, a third player was alleged to have held her down. The senior was also accused of raping her later in the Barn.
The panel’s initial questioning was based mostly on the investigative work of campus officers who aggressively sought out witnesses, followed leads and conducted interviews. According to the federal Education Department, a sexual-assault investigation typically takes around 60 calendar days. Hobart and William Smith did it in a little more than a week.
The hearing followed almost immediately. While a speedy adjudication can help all parties move on with their lives, in this case it left little time for the panel to study witness statements and prepare a cogent line of questioning. It also left Anna with little time to process events of that night, much less familiarize herself with the statements of others, some of which she had received the day before the hearing.
Anna was questioned first. “It was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through,” she said later, adding, “I felt like I was talking to someone who knew nothing of any sort of social interaction; what happens at parties; what happens in sex.”
She had to relive that evening through questions that jumped around in time, interrupted her answers and misrepresented witness statements. One question incorrectly quoted one of her friends asserting that at the dance Anna had told her that she wanted to go upstairs and have sex; in fact, the friend had said, Anna told her that the football player wanted to have sex.
At a critical point, Anna was about to describe what happened when she was alone upstairs with the first two football players — only to have the panel abruptly change the subject.
Q. O.K., just the three of you?
Q. And then what happened?
Q: Can I just ask a question? O.K., in your statement you do say that you were trying to text.
This is followed by a lengthy exchange about texting.
Later she was asked how the senior football player had tried to undress her, but the panelists cut her off.
Q. It helps us to understand what took place. You know, I’m going to apologize now because we have to ask difficult questions and I really apologize for that.
Q. And for all of us, as hard as it is, if you could be specific, if you are going to talk about a hand holding you, was his left or his right? And if there’s a penis involved, is it flaccid, is it erect?
Q. Because the most detail you give us when you tell us the story, the less questions we have to ask for details. And if you want to break just let us know, we can give a couple of minutes.
Q. And as you start your story about this line of events, I just want to — you know what, can we just back up a little bit before that, because before this line of events starts to happen, there has or has not been any coke brought into the room?
This was followed by a discussion of Anna’s allegation that some students in the room were using cocaine.
Two of the three panel members did not examine the medical records showing blunt force trauma — it was the chairwoman’s prerogative not to share them. Instead, the panel asked what Anna had drunk, who she may have kissed and how she had danced. It was, Anna said, as if admitting you were grinding — a common way of dancing — “means you therefore consent to sex or should be raped.”
The panel asked about the Barn — even though Anna stated that she did not remember being there — and whether the friend who found her there might have misconstrued her dancing as sex. Anna responded that the pool-table witness had said she and the football player had their pants down. “I don’t know who dances like that in public,” she added.
It was during this discussion that one panelist asked if the witness had seen the player’s penis in Anna’s vagina or if he had just seen them having sex. “The questioning is absolutely stunning in its absurdity,” Anna’s lawyer, Inga L. Parsons, said later.
Anna’s panelists were supposed to have “adequate training or knowledge” of sexual violence, according to federal guidelines. Even so, they pressed Anna on why she initially had not wanted a rape exam at the hospital.
“Does anyone really believe that it is pleasant to have rectal, vaginal, vulva and cervical swabs taken?” Ms. Parsons said. “Not to mention photographs of your private parts and dye injected into your vagina?”
A Locker-Room Meeting
The three football players then took their turns before the panel. Their accounts were quite different from their accuser’s.
The senior player said Anna had given him a lap dance behind the fraternity bar. Upstairs, he said, she kissed him and then performed oral sex on him for two to three minutes. However, he said, he could not get an erection because he was tired from playing football and “a super long bus ride.”
At the Barn, he said, she again pulled his pants down. “My flaccid penis was rubbing up against her vagina,” he had told the campus police, adding that he had then realized their conduct “was inappropriate” and pulled up his pants.
The second football player said that while his teammate was in the room, Anna pulled down his pants and gave him oral sex. “I didn’t consent,” he said. “She’s doing it all by herself. My hands are not touching her.” After a brief period, he said, he told her to stop. “I zippered my pants up, put my belt on, and I walked out the door.”
The third player, who faced the weakest case, acknowledged being in the fraternity room but said he left before the sexual encounter.
Anna’s friend who recounted the pool-table scene chose not to testify, but, according to Anna, stands by his account.
Records show that the first two players had lied to campus officers when initially asked about Anna’s allegations. The panel, though, chose not to ask about it.
The day after the episode, the senior football player told two campus officers that he could not recall Anna’s name, even though he had spent much of the evening with her. The player denied having sexual contact with her during or after the fraternity party.
How the Suspects’ Stories Changed
Two football players accused of sexual assault lied to the police and then changed basic parts of their accounts after witnesses contradicted them. The college panel that cleared both players failed to ask them any questions about why they had lied.
First contacted by police
Did not have sex
He told the police that he spent a few hours with the accuser but did not have sexual contact with her and didn’t know her name.
Was not there
He told a college official that he was “not involved in whatever happened” with Player 1.
Official police interview
Had sexual contact
He now said he received consensual oral sex from the accuser but was too tired from football to get an erection. Player 2 was not involved, he said.
Was not there
He told the police in two separate interviews that he was never in the room where the alleged assault took place.
A few days later
Both players were involved
He said that he was “ready to come clean with the truth” and that Player 2 was in the room and received oral sex. He said he had lied to protect himself against “false allegations.”
Had sex for “a few seconds”
He now told police that he was in the room where the accuser said she was assaulted. He said she gave him oral sex for “a couple of seconds” before he got uncomfortable and left.
Only after the officers confronted him with reports to the contrary did he acknowledge having “sexual contact” — but not sex — at the Barn, and engaging in oral sex with Anna at the fraternity house.
The second player, during three separate interviews with campus officers, denied even being in the fraternity room. It wasn’t until his fourth interview two days after the sexual encounter that he confessed to being in the room with his teammate and having oral sex with Anna.
That same day, the football coach, Mike Cragg, summoned the three accused players, two team captains and the pool table witness for a private locker-room meeting where he heard their recollections, then passed on details of Anna’s account, hearing transcripts show.
Two days after that meeting, the senior player changed his account a second time, telling the campus police that he “wanted us to know that he was ready to come clean about the truth,” records show. A second player had in fact been with him at the fraternity house, the player said, and Anna had given both oral sex. He said he had lied to protect himself and his teammate from Anna’s false allegations.
Mr. Cragg declined to answer questions from The Times. But in a written statement he said, “If I were to learn that a member of my team had behaved in a manner that violated our code of ethics or community standards, I would want him removed from the team immediately.” He added: “I have never and would never encourage any player or players to coordinate stories to avoid disciplinary actions.”
While the panel did not ask the players about their changed accounts, it did let the senior give an opening statement.
“I come from a wonderful family with strong Christian values,” he said. “I have been blessed with a beautiful mother, grandmothers, nieces and amazing aunts.” And he added: “I treat women with the respect and honor they deserve.”
The Panel Decides
The panel had to answer several basic questions: Did Anna give consent, was she capable of giving consent, and did the senior player violate the no-contact order either directly or through his friends? The standard of proof, mandated under federal guidelines, was preponderance of evidence — was it more likely than not that the students had sexually assaulted Anna?
Several hours after the last witness, the panel announced its decision clearing all three athletes on all counts.
The next day, the panel chairwoman sent Anna written confirmation of the decision, informing her that if she wished to appeal, she could find directions on Page 13 of the sexual-misconduct policy.
But Page 13 said nothing about appeals. Instead, it contained a section titled “False Allegations.” The college admitted its mistake, Anna’s mother said.
Anna’s lawyer appealed the decision to clear the senior player. Mr. Flowers, the student-affairs administrator, granted the family additional time to file its appeal and reviewed the rape-kit results and hospital records. He upheld the panel’s ruling, though he did find a violation of the no-contact order.
In an email response to The Times, the panel’s chairwoman, Ms. Bissell, said the members were proud of their service. “A great deal of care and focus goes into this work, including extensive training in advance of our service, as well as refresher training prior to serving on a particular panel,” she said.
As students returned after winter break, amid swirling rumors of a gang rape, they were greeted by a new mandate: Everyone had to watch an interactive video designed to educate them about sexual assault. The video contained hypotheticals and a series of questions. Answer them, students were told, or be denied campus housing.
The video generated instant controversy, beginning with its title — “ThinkLuv.”
“So right from the start, it’s the kind of program that’s fun and playful and not something that needs to be taken seriously,” said Kelsey Carroll, a recent graduate who founded a student group to combat sexism. “Rape is not about love. It is about violence and power.”
The campus paper said the video attempted to educate students “while slut-shaming, generalizing and even being sexist in the process.”
Mr. Flowers defended the video, saying 94 percent of students had called it a positive experience.
On May 2, the day after the federal government announced that Hobart and William Smith was among the schools under investigation, the school sponsored an event used on other campuses called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” in which men walk around campus in high-heeled shoes to raise awareness of sexual assault. Campus meetings were also held to discuss the issue.
“I think the school has been receiving a lot of pressure from the press, alums and certainly from students to act,” Ms. Carroll said. “As a campus we know it’s not the case that rapes and sexual assaults are not happening on campus — it’s that they aren’t reported or the reporting system is failing.”
Mr. Tantillo, the district attorney, said that after prosecuting a campus rape case seven years ago, he had worked with the school to improve its handling of sexual-assault reports. He praised what he said was the thoroughness of its investigation of Anna’s case.
But he also understands the questions that might lead a woman to stay silent. “Is this going to be publicized? Is everybody going to know about this? Am I going to be ostracized? Is this going to affect me for the rest of my life? Am I going to lose friends? Are people going to believe me?”
If a woman does decide to come forward, he said, she should do so immediately. “If you wait hours, days or weeks, that gives people plenty of time to get their stories together, to engage other witnesses to support them, and it makes it much, much more challenging.”
Disappointment is a recurring theme among many students who ask their schools to adjudicate their sexual-assault complaints.
“Most of the students I work with say, ‘Had I known how bad the school process was, I would not have reported at all,’ ” said Annie E. Clark, who counsels assault victims on their rights.
One reason for this disappointment is that many college hearing panelists lack even the most basic training, said Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who has investigated the quality of campus rape investigations. The senator recently surveyed 440 colleges and universities and found that one-third had failed to properly train officials adjudicating claims.
The District Attorney
The District Attorney
R. Michael Tantillo, the Ontario County district attorney, discusses the ideal process for dealing with sexual assault.
A lack of transparency in student hearings makes it difficult, if not impossible, for students to evaluate the way their schools adjudicate complaints. “They are a little like snowflakes — they are all different,” said Ms. McCaskill, a former sex-crimes prosecutor.
The police have their own shortcomings, she said, citing the flawed inquiry in the Jameis Winston case in Florida.
The Geneva police hardly distinguished themselves in Anna’s case. Detective Brian E. Choffin, relying primarily on his reading of school records, sent the prosecutor an error-filled report.
Detective Choffin mischaracterized witness statements, put the words of one student in the mouth of another, and stated that he “never saw any discrepancies or alterations” in what the two football players told the authorities, even though they had initially lied about having sexual contact with their accuser. And while Anna’s blood-alcohol tests had been done many hours after she last had a drink, he also stated unequivocally that her level “would not make a person impaired to the point of blacking out.”
The detective defended his report, which disputed much of Anna’s account, calling it “thorough and based on facts.”
Looking back, Anna said she knows only too well the price of pursuing her complaint — physical threats and obscenities on her dormitory door, being pushed in the dining hall and asked to leave a fraternity party. Her roommate moved out with no explanation.
Mr. Flowers said the school continued to strengthen programs to stop sexual violence. Over the last two years, he said, seven students have undergone disciplinary hearings for sexual assaults; four were expelled.
Against her parents’ wishes, Anna plans to return to Hobart and William Smith in the fall.
“Someone needs to help survivors there,” she said.