Reaction to DA's decision in alleged assault case
GREEN BAY – Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski says based on the facts uncovered in the investigation, he has decided not to file charges in connection with an incident involving two members of the UW-Green Bay men’s soccer team.
The men were accused of sexually assaulting a female student on Oct. 10, 2010.
In a news release announcing his decision Zakowski said he was unable to determine whether a sexual assault took place that morning.
“This is a most unfortunate situation,” Zakowski said in the release. “While the conduct of all the parties is not to be excused, it is evident that this referral should not be prosecuted.”
According to Zakowski, a female student had been texting one of the men earlier in the evening and the two “were planning on getting together later.” The two met at the man’s on-campus apartment. “Eventually there was sexual activity between the two of them,” Zakowski said. The woman later had sexual activity with the man and his roommate, the police report said.
“It was apparent early on in the investigation that there were proof problems,” Zakowski said in his release. He said the main question was whether the sexual activity was consensual.
Zakowski said the two men said “that the female had consented to the sexual conduct. They indicated they specifically asked her if she would have sex at that point. The female reported she was not sure if she had consented. She has stated that she may have said ‘okay.’”
All of the people involved admitted to drinking alcohol, Zakowski said. The woman told investigators the drink she consumed was prepared in front of her and that “she could not remember parts of the evening.”
In October, the University disciplined the students involved for violations of the student code of conduct. Details could not be released because of federal student-privacy laws. The woman involved in the case has since transferred to another school.
The district attorney’s investigation was delayed due to testing that was conducted by the State Crime Laboratory. Test results revealed no presence of “illegal or other drugs used to facilitate sexual assault.” So-called “date rape” drugs, Zakowski says, are often difficult to detect.
UW-Green Bay police chief Randy Christopherson reminds everyone that “University police take all reports of sexual assault very seriously, and we aggressively and thoroughly investigate them in order to gather the facts.”
He goes on to say “We, as a campus, continuously work to strengthen the safety of our community, as it takes the involvement of everyone to maintain a safe campus, however we all still need to take responsibility for our own personal safety, and the personal safety of others and not to put ourselves in positions that may allow us to be more vulnerable.”
Brenda Amenson-Hill, the dean of students at UW-Green Bay, says her office will continue to encourage all students, faculty and staff to report incidents on campus.
“We are committed to thoroughly following up on all incidents. This work often involves a combination of support by various people and offices on and off campus. Our ultimate goal is to provide a positive and safe learning environment,” Amenson-Hill said.
The two men’s soccer players remained enrolled but were suspended from the team during the months-long investigation. Now that the investigation is complete, the Athletics Department has indicated, the players will be reinstated.
“This was a difficult and unfortunate situation for all involved, and now that the full investigation has been completed, we can move forward to put it behind us without any charges being filed,” Bothof said. “I am extremely grateful for the leadership provided by (men’s soccer coach) Tom Poitras and his staff under these circumstances and throughout this school year.”
“This has been a difficult time for our team,” Poitras said. “Our players supported their fellow members of our soccer family throughout this trying situation. Our next step is to meet with the two players to discuss their rejoining our team. The Green Bay men’s soccer program will move forward and continue to be positive members of the UW-Green Bay campus and the Green Bay community.”
“This incident should not be imputed to other team members, students or the administration of UW-Green Bay,” Zakowski said in his statement. “We are hoping that it does not dissuade victims from coming forward and reporting when they have been sexually assaulted. Every case and every charging decision is unique based upon the specific facts surrounding the incident. The specific facts present in this incident necessitate the closing out of the file.”
Some of the key resources available to students, faculty and staff include:
- Dean of Students Office 465-2152
- Counseling and Health Center 465-2380
- Public Safety (24 hrs.) 465-2300
- Sexual Assault Center (24 hrs.) 436-8899
- Family Violence Center (24 hrs.) 432-4244
- Crisis Center (24 hrs.) 436-8888
- SANE, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, St. Vincent Hospital (24 hrs.) Pager: 704-2373