Jacob Anderson, a former fraternity president accused of rape at Texas' Baylor University, accepted a plea deal his accuser publicly chastised as unjust

By Chris Harris
December 11, 2018 11:27 AM
Jacob Anderson
Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald/AP

A 23-year-old former college fraternity president accused of rape in Texas will avoid prison time and a lifetime on the sex offender’s registry after accepting a plea deal that his dismayed accuser publicly lambasted as unjust, PEOPLE confirms.

The woman, a fellow student at Baylor University who has not been identified, submitted a letter to the court that was read aloud Monday at the sentencing hearing for Jacob Anderson.

Anderson was accused of rape in early 2016, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. The woman, then 19, said she attended a party where she was served a spiked drink and, after her alleged assault, was brought unconscious outside and left on the ground, partially undressed.

“I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment,” she said in her letter to the court. “He stole many things from me the night he raped me. I will never be the same again.”

While prosecutors said they agreed to a plea believing a conviction was uncertain, the woman contended there was “overwhelming” evidence that Anderson “violently raped me repeatedly and almost killed me.” But, she said, he is now free to live his life — and potentially re-offend.

“Now, I not only have to live with his rape and the repercussions of the rape, I have to live with the knowledge that the McLennan County Justuce system is severely broke,” she wrote. “I have to live with the fact that after all these years and everything I have suffered, no justice was achieved.”

Her letter continued: “He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it for all eternity.”

The woman insisted that Anderson “will most likely rape again” and that McLennan County Judge Ralph Strother’s decision to accept the plea left him “free to roam society, stalk women and no one will know he is a sex offender.”

The alleged rape occurred in February 2016. A month later, Waco police detectives charged Anderson with felony sexual assault. He was expelled from Baylor following an investigation, the Forth Worth Star Telegram reports.

In October, Anderson took a deal from prosecutors and pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of unlawful restraint, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. His sexual assault charges were dismissed.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Anderson will be placed on probation for the next three years and has to complete court-mandated counseling. He was also fined $400.

Anderson does not, however, have to register as a sex offender. (His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.)

Word of his deal sparked an online petition that garnered signatures from more than 45,000 people — all of them opposed to the outgoing prosecutor’s decision to settle the case.

The deal also inspired a number of quiet protests outside the courthouse.

Assitant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde responded to the public outcry over the sentencing in a letter of her own, saying she believed it was the “best outcome” possible given weaknesses in the case.

“Conflicting evidence and statements exist in this case making the original allegation difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” LaBorde said. “As a prosecutor, my goal is no more victims. I believe that is best accomplished when there is a consequence rather than an acquittal. This offender is now on felony probation and will receive sex offender treatment, a result which was not guaranteed, nor likely, had we gone to trial.”

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“Given the claims made [publicly], I understand why people are upset,” she said. “However, all the facts must be considered and there are many facts the public does not have.”

Local TV station KXXV spoke to the victim’s attorney, Vic Feazell, after the sentencing on Monday.

“All I have to say is I’m disappointed,” Feazell said. “Our entire system failed this young woman. In 40 years of law practice, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

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