Judge Who Gave Alleged Rapist $400 Fine Says Outraged People Are 'Misinformed'
Waco, TX – A former Baylor University fraternity president accused of repeatedly raping another student at a party in 2016 will not serve any time in prison for his crimes, and may have the charges dismissed if he successfully completes probation.
Jacob Anderson pleaded no contest to a single count of unlawful restraint in McLennan County District Court on Monday, according to court documents.
In exchange for his plea, the McLennan District Attorney’s Office dismissed four counts of sexual assault, and recommended that Anderson pay a fine and attend sexual offender counseling during a three-year probation sentence, The Washington Post reported.
District Court Judge Ralph Strother signed off on the deferred adjudication order, which will allow for the unlawful restraint offense to be dismissed in three years, provided Anderson does not violate his probation.
He will not serve any time in jail, and will not be required to register as a sex offender.
The unnamed victim of the offense had begged Strother to reject the plea agreement and to allow the matter to proceed to trial so she could testify against her rapist, The Washington Post reported.
She also submitted a scathing statement for the court’s consideration, which Strother said he had read prior to issuing the lenient sentence.
Strother said he reviewed other letters sent to him regarding the case, and that he also considered statements that citizens posted online, KCEN reported.
"The social media comments on this matter have been well-intended," Strothers said, adding that many had been made by people who were “not fully informed, misinformed, or uninformed.”
But the victim held nothing back in her statement to the court, and even went so far as to call out the prosecutors – McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna and Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde – who didn’t even bother to show up for the hearing, The Washington Post reported.
"If I had the courage to come back to Waco and face my rapist and testify, you could at least have had enough respect for me to show up today,” the victim wrote. “You both will have to live with this decision to let a rapist run free in society without any warning to future victims.”
In the letter, the victim recounted the agonizing details of the attack, and told the judge she was “devastated” that he accepted the plea agreement.
“I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment,” she wrote. “Rape is a violent crime that alters the victim’s life and the life of everyone around them forever.”
The woman said she was a 19-year-old Baylor University sophomore on Feb. 21, 2016, when she went to a party at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, KCEN reported.
According to an arrest warrant, the victim accepted a drink of punch at the gathering, then found herself confused and disoriented.
Anderson led her to a “secluded area” away from the party and “proceeded to violently and repeatedly” rape her, the victim’s letter to the judge read.
“He repeatedly raped me orally and vaginally while choking me, gagging me and physically forcing my body into positions so he could continue to rape me,” she recounted. “I had no control over my body and no way to stop him.”
“When I collapsed on the ground he pulled down his pants and shoved his penis in my mouth and down my throat gagging me,” the letter read.
Anderson then allegedly “shoved” the woman into a wall, and “calmly and coldly said ‘It’s fine. You’re fine,’” as he raped her, she said.
The victim said Anderson choked and raped her several more times before she “blacked out permanently,” and that he then “dumped” her “face down in the dirt and left me there to die.”
“He had taken what he wanted, had proven his power over my body,” she wrote. “He then walked home and went to bed without a second thought…”
After the woman awoke from the attack, she vomited on herself and was able to locate a friend to take her to the hospital, KCEN reported.
“Jacob Walter Anderson. It must be horrible to be you,” she said in the letter. “To know what you did to me. To know you are a rapist. To know that you almost killed me. To know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity and stole many other things from me.”
The victim said she would have “loved” to continue her education at Baylor University, and that she should be off pursuing her career like she had planned.
“Not be on medication. Not be getting therapy. Not be in and out of the doctor’s office. Not having nightmares. Not be triggered daily into anxiety. Not be fearful. Not be sad. Not be afraid of every man that looks at me or thinks I’m nice and just wants to meet me and get to know me,” she wrote.
“To be happy and carefree and enjoy daily life. I am none of these things, because you raped me and almost killed me and stole them all from me,” the letter read.
The victim told the judge that she believes Anderson will likely “rape again,” and asserted that “rapists who get away with their crimes will never be cured.”
“If anything, they will be emboldened by their power over women and their ability to escape justice and punishment,” she railed.
“He is now free to roam society, stalk women, and no one will know he is a sex offender,” she wrote.
The woman said that she has also been victimized by the criminal justice system, which she described as “severely broken.”
"I have to live with the fact that after all these years and everything I have suffered no justice was achieved,” she said. “My rapist will go home smiling and happy and laughing at me."
"He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it all for eternity," she told the court.
In a statement after the hearing, LaBorde said that she believed the sentence was the “best outcome given the facts of the case.”
She said that conflicting statements and evidence presented potential problems for successful prosecution, and that she wanted to ensure Anderson did not receive an acquittal.
“I would also urge those upset about this agreement to consider their source of information,” LaBorde said in the statement. “Any lawyer can issue a statement, but taking a statement and proving the truth of its contents beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, when a complaining witness is subject to cross examination, is a different task entirely.”
“Given the claims made publicly, I understand why people are upset. However, all of the facts must be considered and there are many facts that the public does not have,” she added.
“In approving this agreement, Judge Strother had access to all the statements that have ever been made by all people involved and agreed that the plea agreement offered was appropriate in this case,” the assistant DA’s statement concluded.
The victim’s attorney, Vic Feazell, said that the legal system failed his client.
“In 40 years of practice, I’ve never seen anything like this, Feazell told NBC News.