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UT-Dallas bans student after petition demands removal of defendant in Baylor sex assault case from campus

Posted at 10:17 AM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 08:52:12-05

Fraternity president Jacob Walter Anderson was expelled from Baylor University in Texas shortly after his indictment two years ago on four charges of sexual assault.

Now, it appears Anderson has been canned by his fallback school, the University of Texas at Dallas, where this year he was a senior finance major, a UT Dallas online directory showed this week.

The move comes days after Anderson pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of unlawful restraint, avoiding jail time in a plea deal that has sparked outrage from the victim and others.

The announcement Wednesday by UT Dallas officials also follows publication of an online petition calling on the school to remove Anderson from campus and noting its responsibility to keep its students safe.

Without naming Anderson, UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson said a student admitted two years ago is no longer allowed on campus or at the school after the university was alerted to the student’s “legal history,” according to a statement posted Wednesday to Twitter.

“There is nothing more important at UT Dallas than the safety and security of our students,” Benson said. “Two years ago we admitted a student without knowing their legal history. Based on recent court action and other information over the last several days, that student will not participate in UTD commencement activities, will not attend UT Dallas graduate school and will not be present on campus as a student or as a guest.”

Citing federal laws protecting student privacy, a school spokeswoman would not confirm if the student is Anderson, nor say whether the student would still be a UT Dallas graduate.

Anderson via email directed CNN on Wednesday to his attorneys, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UT Dallas in a statement posted earlier Wednesday to its Facebook page referred to an online petition and said it was reviewing the situation.

“The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are of the utmost importance to the University,” it reads. “While federal laws limit what we can address publicly, we are aware of the online petition and the community’s concern. The University administration is currently reviewing the situation.”

The MoveOn.org petition, which by Thursday had garnered more than 26,000 virtual signatures, said UT Dallas students “have a right to protection from predators like Anderson.”

“He submitted a plea of no contest and was sentenced to deferred probation, and will not be made to register as a sex offender. That being the case, the school … has a responsibility to remove him from this new potential hunting ground,” the petition states.

Inside the plea deal

As part of the plea deal, Anderson will undergo counseling but is not required to register as a sex offender in Texas and can have his criminal record wiped clean if he completes three years of deferred probation and pays a $400 fine, CNN affiliate KWKT reported.

The victim accused Anderson of repeatedly raping her as she slipped into unconsciousness at a fraternity party in February 2016.

In a victim impact statement, she warned that the plea deal would embolden him to offend again.

“Jacob Anderson will most likely rape again. He is now free to roam society, stalk women and no one will know he is a sex offender. Jacob Anderson and all rapists who get away with their crimes will never be cured, never change,” she wrote. “If anything they will be emboldened by their power over women and their ability to escape justice and punishment.”

Prosecutors came to the plea deal because “conflicting evidence and statements” in the case made it difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde said in a statement.

“As a prosecutor, my goal is no more victims. I believe that is best accomplished when there is a consequence rather than an acquittal,” Laborde said. “This offender is now on felony probation and will receive sex offender treatment, a result which was not guaranteed, nor likely, had we gone to trial.”

Meantime, the victim will proceed with a civil lawsuit against Anderson and his fraternity, her attorney, Jim Dunnam, told CNN affiliate KVVX.

The victim will sue the fraternity for failing to report the assault and for failing to adopt adequate safeguards and will sue Anderson for knowingly drugging and assaulting her, Dunnam said.

“The decision made by prosecutors and criminal proceedings are irrelevant to what we’re doing in our case and the justice that we are seeking in our case,” Dunnam told KVVX, adding that he hopes the trial will end by the close of 2019.