DA Declines To File Charges In De Anza Baseball Team Rape Case

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced Friday his office would not file criminal charges against the De Anza College baseball players accused of gang raping a 17-year-old girl at a house party in 2007.

He said, “What happened on March 3, 2007, at 349 South Buena Vista Ave. in San Jose was reprehensible. It was inexcusable … however, the district attorney’s office cannot prove that a crime occurred and therefore will not file criminal charges.”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Barbara Spector, one attorney who represented the victim in the civil trial, released a statement commenting on the district attorney’s decision.

“We appreciate that District Attorney Jeff Rosen concluded, as we did, that what happened to Jessica was not her fault and that the suspects’ behavior was not acceptable conduct in a civilized society,” Spector said in a statement.

At a news conference in San Jose Friday morning, Rosen said the district attorney’s office reached its decision following an “exhaustive and extensive” review by experienced sexual assault prosecutor Ray Mendoza. He said after examining the facts and evidence in the case, the conclusion reached was that it would have been difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault occurred.

Even so, Rosen said the investigation found that the suspects had sex with an intoxicated girl while other men watched and that one man tried to keep others from coming into the bedroom. He said their actions consistently showed more concern for themselves and each other than for the victim.

“I have two daughters, I have a brother, and I have nephews,” he said. “That’s not how you should raise your boys. In my view, there’s really nothing to be proud of—how they conducted themselves that night and how they conducted themselves during the investigation.”

The decision of the district attorney’s office reaffirmed the conclusion of a civil trial earlier this year where a Santa Clara County jury found that there was no negligence on the part of two of the defendants, Christopher Knopf and Kenneth Chadwick.

The defendants were found not liable and did not have to pay damages to the victim, who was seeking $7.5 million.

The civil trial came four years after the victim, who is now 22, claimed she was gang-raped by a group of baseball players at a party in San Jose on March 3, 2007.

Three young women, identified as Lauren Bryeans, Lauren Chief Elk and April Grolle, pushed their way into the room where the girl was allegedly being assaulted and took her to the hospital.

Afterward, both Chief Elk and Grolle publicly described finding the vomiting semi-conscious girl in a room surrounded by eight men with one allegedly between her legs.

Eight members of the team were suspended for team policy violations after the incident came to light.

Knopf and Chadwick claimed that the sex was consensual. The allegations against them included negligence, battery, sexual battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, conspiracy, unlawful intercourse, rape of an unconscious woman, rape of an intoxicated woman, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Another six men were also listed in the lawsuit when the civil trial began in late February, but they settled with the victim or had the lawsuit dismissed.

In 2007, then-District Attorney Dolores Carr decided to not file criminal charges in the case, citing insufficient evidence, a decision that outraged some in the community.

Carr also asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate the case, and that office agreed that there was not enough evidence.

Rosen disagreed with the way the case was handled by his predecessor and before taking office in January, he pledged to reopen and review the case.

“The fact that we are not filing charges in this case should not be taken as indicative of anything beyond the facts of this particular case,” Rosen said Friday. “This office has, and will continue, to aggressively prosecute sexual cases.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS SF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • norm

    drunk or drugged or both..
    no one deserves to be gang raped or otherwise..
    even in sleepy little san jose’
    no surprise tho, gutless politicos
    careeracrats, secure
    ’til next election


    You ENTITLED RAPIST’S would have disappeared real fast, and definitely wouldn’t be playing any sport afterwords because, you know ;-)

    Keep looking over your shoulders LOSERS, IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.

  • Rhonda Leabo

    I am a someone with a law degree, and yet I am bewildered why people like this get off. I first think of the young woman that was raped, and what message this sends her. Perhaps she was intoxicated, perhaps someone signaled consent. It does not excuse a woman’s actions if she acts this way, and then men take the cue. What about the guys? This sends a message that if you find someone incapciated or perhaps not 100% down for the matter at hand…no matter. Not to mention the whole “gang” issue of it..which is wrong on its face. Good job court…yet another confusing and immoral message that we are sending to our youth.

  • JS84

    The media has consistently failed to report all the details related to this case, automatically declaring that a rape occurred before any investigation took place.

    This particular story is filled with shoddy and incorrect reporting that needs to be corrected. For example, it states that Knopf alleged that the sex was consensual. It is factually incorrect; he alleged that he wasn’t even conscious and that he didn’t even engage in sex. Dozens of eyewitnesses testified that they saw the alleged victim grope him, and that she later led him into a room for sex while he was staggering and heavily intoxicated, where he vomited repeatedly and passed out. Witnesses stated that she then left the room to get others to have sex with. The DA initially tried to get him to testify against the other defendants, and threatened to charge him with rape if he did not. There was no evidence he engaged in any sex. If the sexes were reversed and a man tried to do this to a woman, he’d be arrested for attempted rape. The story doesn’t even touch upon the fact that some of the accused did not participate in any sex, were not present at the house, and were not even in the room when the alleged assault occurred.

    During the civil trial it was revealed that the alleged victim had groped and demanded sex from several men, some of whom were not members of the baseball team, and many of whom were heavily also intoxicated. The woman even stated that she did not know who was there, but that anyone accused were without a doubt guilty of raping her. This despite the fact that she admitted she didn’t remember who she had sex with.

    The alleged soccer girls, lauded as “heroes” themselves gave repeatedly contradictory stories. They claimed that non-existent people were present in the room raping the woman. They gave completely wrong descriptions of the men there, the number of people there, the scene, who did what, etc. They also changed their story years later when it was revealed that it was physically impossible to see what they described. It was revealed during the civil trial that much of what they described was incorrect, including their claim that the woman repeatedly vomited and was incoherent; medical evidence by trained sexual assault nurses showed the opposite. Medical evidence showed that the woman could not have been drunk the way she and the girls claimed.

    This story and most like it fail to present both sides of the issue and to even correctly identify the people involved.

  • Max

    Wow! Look at all the ignorance in the comments section.
    In a criminal trial you have to prove “beyond a shadow of a doubt”…basically 100% that a crime happened.
    In a civil trial you only need to prove “reasonably”, or 50% or better, that the person has been wronged.

    If you paid any attention to this case over the last 4 years you would know that the civil case was dismissed against every member of the baseball team.

    What does that mean? The girl wasn’t even able to prove that she was halfway-telling the truth. If she can’t be 50% convincing how is she going to be 100% convincing? I’m not going to go over all the details of the case, but let me say that nobody’s story really matched up and the girl had a history of questionable sexual behavior.

    Nobody knows what happened that night except for that girl, those guys, and God. Everyone else should keep their mouth shut and stop making assumptions.

  • Daniel Zapata

    OK. fine. these men…no not men, I’m a man, i know what a man is, and these things are not men. they got away with rape, fine. but I hope the rape haunts them every night. I hope they never forget what they have done. I hope this will always stay in their subconscious, until they confess and take responsibility for what they did.

  • S

    These punks might (and probably did) have done something sexual to her, but we wont find out because of their intoxicated state at the time and it can’t be proven beyond a resonable doubt. So, the next course of action is to leave it alone because probing something like could lead to a bigger fallout. Just look at what happened in the Duke Lacrosse Case.

    I wonder if Rosen is kicking himself over this because he still came to the same conclusion that then-DA and the State AG’s office made.

  • http://paloaltofreepress.com/did-lack-of-deterrence-lead-to-sexual-assault-of-audrie-potts/ Did Lack of Deterrence Lead to Sexual Assault of Audrie Potts? | Palo Alto Free Press

    […] After Jeff Rosen replaced Dolores Carr as DA he reopened the case and concluded that “the investigation found that the suspects had sex with an intoxicated girl while other men watch… […]

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