Teen recounts alleged rape by San Diego State football players

She was 17 on the night that turned her life upside down, the night she claimed several San Diego State University football players took turns raping her at a Halloween party just blocks from campus.

The bruises healed, but the trauma did not.

She stopped going to high school and finished her last year online. She met a therapist and began writing a diary detailing her experience.

Now 18, the young woman at the center of a sexual assault scandal at the university spoke out for the first time this week, detailing what happened on October 16, 2021, the party as well as her frustration with the ongoing police investigation and lack of action by the university.

In response to an investigation by The Times into the details of the alleged rape, university officials last month defended their decision not to launch their own investigation, saying they did so at the request of the San Diego Police Department. They also said that the woman never reported what happened to the university and that the police never confirmed her identity.

But the woman’s father, who spoke with The Times on Friday on condition of anonymity to protect his daughter’s privacy, said he met a university police officer on October 19, three days after the party. He said he provided the campus police lieutenant with his daughter’s name, phone number, and a detailed description of the alleged rape of football players. The lieutenant, later, informed him that the case would be dealt with by the San Diego Police Department.

The father said it was “extremely ridiculous” that the university stopped conducting its own investigation or issuing a statement until The Times first reported details of the alleged assault last month.

“To keep it silent for more than nine months now – the same people who allegedly did this were allowed to roam free, graduate, and carry on with their sport,” he said. “This drives me crazy.”

His daughter said she was disappointed with the university’s reaction. The Times generally does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.

“Something like that stays with you forever,” said the woman. “And all I can do now is just hope that I get some kind of justice and feel that people are facing consequences for their actions because I feel like I was facing the consequences of their actions.”

Her concerns were echoed by student-athletes who reported the alleged rape to officials through an anonymous message system operated by the campus, saying they were concerned that the university had not taken action against the footballers, according to internal records reviewed by The Times. One athlete wondered if officials were “trying to get rid of it because our football team is doing well”.

One of the players graduated from the claim center. The university can no longer force him to comply with an investigation under Act IX because he is not a student. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational institutions.

San Diego State released a statement this week confirming that a relative of the woman visited campus police on October 19 and informed them that a report had been filed with the San Diego Police Department. The statement said the university launched its own investigation after police told them last week that doing so would not jeopardize their criminal investigation.

A San Diego State spokeswoman said Friday that university president Adela de la Torre was not available for comment. In a statement, San Diego State said the school asked police to provide information about its complaint and the woman’s Title IX procedure and that the university “was and remains eager to communicate directly with the victim.” The statement did not explain why the father was not given this information when he met the campus police.

“While committing to achieving the SDPD, the university has been active in supporting and increasing educational and training activities, including mandatory training,” the university said in its statement. The training covered topics including consent, sexual misconduct and sexual violence.

The woman, who spoke publicly for the first time this week for CBS8 in San Diego, said the investigator in her case was responsive for the first few months and that police monitored alibi calls between her and the students she accused of sexual assault. But since then, she said she’s received quite a few updates.

In a June letter to de la Torre, Assistant Chief Constable Paul Connelly said police had conducted interviews, carried out search warrants and were evaluating more than 2 terabytes of data. San Diego police on Friday did not respond to requests from The Times to inquire whether a criminal investigation was still ongoing and what had changed in the case to allow university officials to pursue their review. A spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said police had not referred the case to a possible trial.

The experience of the young woman continued to haunt her.

She arrived at the Halloween party dressed as a fairy. She was already drinking with her friends, she said, when she met a San Diego State soccer player at home just blocks from campus. The player offered her a drink and eventually drove her indoors to a bedroom where she said several of his teammates took turns sexually assaulting her, hitting her on a bed and tearing her holes.

She found her friends covered in blood outside after what she thought was over an hour.

She told them, “I was just raped.”

The next day, with bruises on her neck and lower legs, she reported to San Diego Police and underwent a rape examination at Rady Children’s Hospital. The grueling process lasted all night as her body was scanned and tested for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Pictures provided to The Times by her attorney, Dan Gillon, show dark bruises on her neck and on her knee and leg. One photo shows blood on part of her costume. Gillon said he is preparing a lawsuit that will include the names of known suspects.

The situation in San Diego comes as the California State University system continues to handle the complaints process under Title IX. The state legislature recently allowed government scrutiny of universities’ handling of such issues, and ongoing investigations by The Times have revealed inconsistencies in how the nation’s four-year public university system handles such cases among top executives, professors and students.

Although the woman’s father said he was reassured by San Diego and campus police that the accused men’s standing as college football players wouldn’t affect any investigation, he believes their status is the reason not much has been done.

He said his daughter wants to “make sure that doesn’t happen to someone else. That these guys don’t keep signing NFL contracts and making a lot of money, getting a free pass, does it happen to someone else. Because they got away with it once, they can” Get rid of it twice.”

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673 or visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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