IU sued for failing to punish accused rapist despite lack of evidence
A former Indiana University student is now suing the university in federal court after sexual assault charges were dropped against her accused rapist.
The woman, who has not been named, is disputing the university’s claims that her case was handled properly after she came forward and accused Indiana University student John Enochs of raping her in April 2015, USA Today reports.
The civil lawsuit filed against Enochs on June 16 also names Indiana University and Enochs’ Beta Alpha Shelter chapter of Delta Tau Delta fraternity as defendants in the case. A week after the suit was filed, Enochs was sentenced to probation in his criminal case after agreeing to a plea bargain with prosecutors.
The woman’s civil suit is currently pending in a U.S. District Court.
According to the alleged victim, Enochs raped her at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house during a party in April 2015. She later called the police to report the incident and told them she had been drinking heavily. When questioned about the alleged rapist, the woman could not recall who he was or what happened, other than her repeated attempts to stop her attacker.
Security tape footage obtained from the Delta Tau Delta house depicted both the alleged victim and suspect entering the room together.
After the first victim drew attention to her lawsuit, another woman came forward some time later to say that Enochs raped her as well, claiming she was sexually assaulted about two years prior to the incident alleged by the current plaintiff, in October 2013.
Enochs was later arrested and charged with two counts of felony assault in September 2015. His arrest was based on DNA evidence and witness statements at the time. However, Bob Miller, Monroe County’s Chief Deputy Prosecutor, dropped the charges because both sexual assault allegations lacked sufficient evidence to definitively prove rape.
Instead, Enochs pled guilty to a felony battery charge in June 2016, a charge that a Monroe County judge reduced to a misdemeanor. The former Indiana student then received one year of probation.
Katherine Liell, Enochs’ attorney, fired back at her client’s opponents, declaring that the charges and subsequent lawsuit are “sensationalized and false.”
Liell’s case is built around security tape footage and Instagram posts that point toward a consensual encounter between Enochs and the anonymous victim, and Liell says that she “believe[s] John has been caught up in a whirlwind of emotion surrounding any allegation involving sexual assault on campus.”
Local TV station Fox 59 reports that Enochs spent one day in jail when he was arrested.
Jeffrey Herman, the alleged victim’s attorney, says the university “tactily endorsed” Enochs’ denials of rape by refusing to hand out a proper disciplinary punishment while continuing to allow Delta Tau Delta to serve alcohol during parties.
A civil lawsuit, Herman stated, is “often the only measure of justice” for rape survivors because criminal cases are difficult to prove.
In her lawsuit, the alleged victim claims that the university violated federal law. Under Title IX, a federally-funded college or university cannot discriminate against someone based on sex. If a public college ignores a sexual assault incident that occurs on campus, they may be held legally responsible for discrimination.
In a statement, Enochs apologized for the incident and said he is “profoundly sorry for his lack of judgement.”
Monroe County prosecutors have since said that Enochs did not rape the victim, citing a lack of evidence to support the victim’s claims. Their statement to ABC News insists that “due to the misconduct of the lead investigator who presented false and misleading evidence . . . John Enochs was charged with crimes he did not commit.”
Steven Svoboda, Public Relations Director for the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), told Campus Reform that NCFM “support[s] the principle on which our country was founded of innocence until proven guilty.”
While the organization “deplore[s] [rape] and support[s] full and appropriate punishment of those guilty,” NCFM finds it “unlikely (though not impossible) that the case against [Enochs] would have been dropped if evidence existed sufficient to find him guilty.”
Indiana University is not commenting on the incident due to the pending lawsuit, but spokesman Mark Land says that there are “robust processes that are designed to support victims, while at the same time affording due process to those accused of misconduct.
“The university’s goals,” Land said in a statement about Indiana University’s policies, “are both to prevent sexual assault whenever possible and to support the victims to the fullest extent possible.”
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