The sentence for John Enochs drew criticism
The Indiana prosecutor’s office that has drawn criticism for giving a former Indiana University student accused in two rape cases a plea deal giving him one day in jail and one year probation has issued a statement explaining its rationale.
“Neither case, standing alone, presented sufficient evidence to prove rape,” the statement, from the Monroe County, Indiana, prosecutor’s office, reads.
According to the statement, further “evidentiary problems” drove the decision to pursue the plea deal with John Enochs. Enochs was sentenced June 23 to one year of probation for misdemeanor battery with moderate bodily injury in the 2015 case, after having already served one day in jail.
The 2013 case was dropped altogether. Although Enochs pleaded guilty in the 2015 case to a felony, the judge made the decision to enter it as a misdemeanor.
Robert Miller, the chief deputy prosecuting attorney in Monroe County, tells PEOPLE his office attempted to speak with the alleged victims before the plea deal. The alleged victim in the 2015 case “never returned our calls.” Regarding the alleged victim in the 2013 case, Miller says, “We exchanged messages but it didn’t work out and we were up against a deadline.”
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In the 2015 case, the alleged victim told authorities she was attacked by an unknown assailant at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, according to court documents cited by Fox59. Security video later showed Enochs entering the room with the victim.
Investigation of the 2015 case led investigators to the 2013 accusation, which then led to Enochs’s arrest.
“This case presented a very unusual set of circumstances in that we had two unrelated accusations two years apart,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement. “That was an important consideration in our initial decision to charge.”
“However, under the law, a jury considering one case would not be allowed to know about the other. After the case(s) was filed, evidence continued to be developed that lead us to the conclusion that neither case, standing alone, presented sufficient evidence to prove rape.”
“In the older case, the complaining witness had no specific recollection of the events; the few witnesses could not recall important details due to the passage of time and the consumption of alcohol; and the complaining witness s decision to prosecute came two years after the event which severely hindered the investigation,” the statement said.
It added, “There were also photographs that contradicted the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault. This is important because the complaint was that she was ‘unaware’ that the sex was occurring due to her consumption of alcohol.”
“The more recent case had similar evidentiary problems,” the prosector’s office said. “In that case there is video evidence of activities of the complaining witness, before and after the alleged assault, which does not support the assertion of a forcible rape, which was the charge in this instance. There is also DNA evidence that is problematic, and made it impossible for us to prove that the defendant was the cause of her injury.
The statement concluded: “This turn of events was frustrating for us as prosecutors, due to the fact that there were two complaints against the defendant. That fact is the reason we continued to pursue accountability on his part which lead to this plea agreement.”
Enochs’s case has received attention following a controversial six-month sentence given to former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner for the sexual assault of an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside of an on-campus fraternity party in January 2015.
Enochs’s defense attorneys issued a statement to PEOPLE reading, in part: “As the Monroe County prosecutors’ office has acknowledged through their voluntary dismissal of the rape charges, John Enochs did not rape anyone and he should never have been charged with these offenses.”
It adds, “After John Enochs presented evidence to demonstrate his innocence of the sensationalized and false charges, the prosecutor’s office, on their own motion, dismissed both rape charges.
“John Enochs did admit to conduct in one instance that the Court found to be a misdemeanor. He is profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment and has apologized for his conduct.”
Prosecutors had no comment on the defense’s statement.
With reporting by ADAM CARLSON