Monday, April 25, 2011

The Case of Beckett Brennan: Dealing with Rape on College Campuses

My main question is always about the boys and men who commit this crime.

Here is the link:  60minutes/

"... Adjudicating a case of sexual assault on a college campus can be difficult for both the victim and the school, which we found out in the case of Beckett Brennan, who was a student at the University of the Pacific when she reported that she had been raped.

Brennan was a high school all-American basketball player, renowned for her three-point shooting, and recruited by dozens of top colleges. Her father, Barry, had played in the NCAA finals in 1974, and passed his love of the game on to his daughter.
"We built an unbelievable relationship through basketball and on the court," Brennan told Katie Couric.
"Tell me a little bit about what made you fall in love with basketball," Couric asked.

"I enjoyed kind of having it define my ability, and it was nice to kind of be recognized by something that you worked so hard for," she replied.
She accepted a full scholarship at the University of the Pacific, a picturesque school in Stockton, Calif. with 3,000 undergraduates and a successful Division I men's basketball program and a growing women's program.
"And so you had a good year, your freshman year, right?" Couric asked.
"Yes. Great year," Brennan said. "Actually played and made an impact, I'd like to think."

But everything changed for Brennan one Saturday night in May 2008. She went to a party with her teammates at a student housing complex known as the "Townhouses," where she says she drank six shots of vodka. She says later, she found herself stranded at an off-campus party looking for a ride.
"I was offered a ride by two of the men on the men's basketball team. And assuming that we were going back to the Townhouses," Brennan told Couric.
Asked if she felt completely comfortable taking a ride with them, Brennan said, "Yeah. Absolutely. There were no red flags that came up. No reason not to trust them."
When they got back to the Townhouses, she went into one of the basketball player's apartments thinking the party was continuing there. Instead, she claims they led her upstairs into an empty bedroom and raped her. Then, she says, a third basketball player came into the room, pushed her into a closet, and raped her again.

"I remember them saying 'Don't tell anybody, and this is our little secret,'" Brennan told Couric.
"What were you saying to them?" Couric asked.

"Why are you doing this to me? Over and over and over again," she replied.

When it was over, she called friends for help. Back at her dorm, and without her knowledge, one of them recorded her on his cell phone. "And they were like taking off my clothes. I was inside the closet in the corner, trying to like, trying to get away. I don't want anyone to find out. No, I don't. I don't want anybody to find out," she could be heard saying on the recording.

According to a study funded by the Justice Department, 95 percent of victims of sexual assault on college campuses don't report it. And neither did Brennan: not to Stockton Police and not to the university.
The next day, she got through her last final exam and flew home to Colorado. But her friends were worried and upset, and gave that recording to the school. Her assistant coach called her at home.

Brennan told Couric it was then that she told her mom and dad what had happened.
Asked what they said, Brennan said, "That was definitely the hardest conversation I've ever had."
"It's nightmarish. You have rage. You don't know how to act or react, you're just trying to hold things together and process," Barry Brennan said.
Four days after the alleged assault, university police questioned the three basketball players Beckett had identified on the tape as her assailants: Michael Nunnally, Steffan Johnson and Michael Kirby. School officials urged Brennan to report the assault to Stockton Police.

A few weeks later she talked to a detective there, and after that conversation, she decided not to file criminal charges.

"He explained to me the system with cases that involve rape and kinda laid out the facts about it's a 'he said, she said' and kinda scared me," she said. "He used an example of a girl who was, like 16 or 17 who was on the stand for, like 16 hours. I can't even imagine."
The school suggested another option: testify before the university's judicial review board, an internal school disciplinary panel that would guarantee Brennan's identity wouldn't be revealed.

Her parents, Jane and Barry, believed this would be the best course of action. "We were fearful for her safety at that point, just her own mental health," Jane Brennan explained.

But before the hearing, the university gave the Brennans a startling piece of information: another University of the Pacific student was claiming that she had also been raped at the Townhouses just a month before Beckett Brennan.

The school suspected a link and put Brennan in touch with the earlier victim, a former classmate named Krystina Tonetti.

"I just was really shocked that something like that would happen twice in a month," Tonetti said.

Tonetti says she was also drinking at a party at the Townhouses when she was led upstairs, where one man raped her while two others stood by watching. "I just kept saying no. And I kept trying to push him off, because he was really big and he was kind of overpowering," she recalled.

Tonetti says she managed to escape and went to a hospital, where she was interviewed by Stockton Police and administered a DNA rape kit. She decided not to press charges.

While she couldn't identify the men in the room with certainty, Tonetti believed they were University of the Pacific students and agreed to tell her story at Brennan's judicial review board hearing. But when the day came, she was a no show.

"It was starting to get too close to home and too close to my parents finding out, so I didn't go through with it," Tonetti said....

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