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After ‘six months of hell,’ student accused of rape acquitted by jury

He said their dorm-room sex was consensual. She said it wasn’t. In the end, the jury believed him.

Former University of Hawaii-Manoa student Tyler Strong, 19, was acquitted Friday of rape stemming from an incident that occurred Sept. 21 after a night of drinking. The jury deliberations took four days to weigh the three counts of sexual assault charges filed against the teen. If found guilty, he faced up to 20 years in jail.

An emotional Strong spoke to reporters after the verdict, saying “I am very relieved, and truth will win out, and this is a great example of the fact that the truth does set people free.”tylerstrong2

But Strong also has some words of wisdom for his male college peers.

“Understand that society today doesn’t favor young men, and you need to, as a young man, protect yourself,” he said.

His mother, Dawn Strong, offered similar sentiments.

“It’s been six months of hell,” she said. “I would just say that, like my son said, if you are a young man in today’s society, our pendulum has swung the wrong way.”

According to Hawaii News Now, much of the testimony had centered on whether the young lady who lodged the allegations gave verbal affirmative consent to their intercourse:

Strong said he was close friends with the accuser before the incident on the morning of September 21.

“We were flirtatious. We also shared intellectually intimate moments with each other.”

Strong, now living at home in Oregon, testified he and the accuser had spent the night with each other on a previous occasion. “We kissed and cuddled all night, then slept.”

He said on the night of September 20, there was drinking in his dorm room. The girl was there, but left between 11:30 and midnight. Later, after a series of text messages between the two, the girl returned to Strong’s dorm.

“What was going through your head at this point?” asked his attorney Jeffrey Hawk.

“That she wanted to sleep with me, tonight,” Strong answered.

Once in his bed, the two started kissing, and had sex.

“When you started to have sex with her, did she say no?” Hawk asked.

“No she did not,” replied Strong from the stand.

“Did she say stop?” Hawk continued.

“No she did not,” Strong answered.

Strong testified it was after the encounter that the girl became distraught and started crying before leaving the dorm room. Under cross examination, the state tried to show that the alleged victim did not give consent.

“— didn’t say ‘yes, give it to me,’ right?” asked Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Yamamoto.

“No she did not,” Strong answered.

“She didn’t say ‘yes Tyler, I want to have sex with you,’” said Yamamoto during cross examination.

“No she did not,” Strong replied.

According to a report from KITV Honolulu, Strong had added during testimony that the young lady’s physical actions that night were clear:

“When you started to have sex with her did she say no?” said defense attorney Jeffrey Hawk.

“No, she didn’t,” said Strong.

“Did she do anything to indicate she didn’t want to do this,” said Hawk.

“No, in fact she was continually kissing me the entire time, pulling me closer to her body,” said Strong.

Strong indicated his belief was the night was the culmination of a developing relationship, a belief that the prosecution tried to shoot down.

The 18-year-old accuser had testified Strong raped her, that she repeatedly told him to stop. She said on the stand that she ran out of the dorm room in tears after and collapsed on the campus grounds, according to news reports.

But there was no evidence of physical assault. In the end it was her word against his.

In closing arguments, Hawk pointed out that the young lady had admitted that she went to Strong’s room to get a guy she liked jealous.

“In her own words, she wanted to get revenge. She knows Tyler’s alone. She knows Tyler wants to be with her. She picks Tyler and she goes there,” Hawk had said. “Who goes to a friend, someone you like, someone who trusts you and decides to use that person to get back at someone else? Its deceptive, manipulative and just plain crazy.”

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IMAGES: Hawaii News Now screenshots

About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

Add to the Discussion

  • Richard J. Brzeczek

    Parents take extraordinary steps to protect their children from danger, real and perceived. Why would the same parents pay good money to an academic institution who has at least one faculty member whose CV or biographical sketch could be found in the DSM-5?

    • Gary Childress

      Biography is largely of superficial interest in matters of knowledge. If I say, “the sky is blue”, what matters in the realm of knowledge is the accuracy of my statement, not my biographical information.

  • Gary Childress

    My question is whether Chomsky is really defending the “academic freedom” of professor Gilley to publish what some seem to be calling “shoddy” scholarship or is Chomsky more accurately defending the journal against possible implosion over the scandal? The headline says Chomsky is defending the “academic freedom” of Professor Gilley. But the comments cited from Chomsky in the article seem to focus more on saving the journal from ruin over what Chomsky appears to maybe be conceding was a mistake to publish the article. If that is the case then The College Fix maybe needs to review what it has chosen as the headline (or at least publish Chomsky’s full correspondence to clarity).

    • Ri Ma

      I share the same questions and view here as I have understood from Chomsky’s comments that he is trying to save the journal from ruin rather than defending academic freedom of professor Gilley.

  • Yes, Noam Chomsky is defending the survival of the TWQ journal more than just academic freedom of speech. If TWQ is not defended in its freedom to publish, even shoddy academic papers, then free speech is lost. Let the “market place” of ideas determine the survival of the journal. If an academic journal can be closed down by intimidation and threats of physical violence, then a wedge is in place to shut down free speech of any citizen. I agree with Chomsky that TWQ should not have retracted the article, and that Gilley be allowed to publish despite shoddy academic standards and racist themes. The proper response is for another academic or writer to argue with reason and facts to refute Gilley. It is appropriate scold to TWQ for allowing shoddy work to be published but just let the readership respond, but the journal should not be shut down just because it strays from current orthodoxy.

    • Gary Childress

      It doesn’t appear that the journal is being “shut down because it strays from current orthodoxy”. The journal faces the possible danger of shutting down because a significant number of its editorial staff is apparently resigning in protest that proper procedure wasn’t followed before publishing an article of questionable academic quality. My impression is that Chomsky is saying that the staff shouldn’t resign and that the proper route to take is for the editor to issue an apology for the lapse and the academic community to respond to Professor Gilley’s paper in a manner that demonstrates its flaws (in order to educate Professor Gilley and the readership) rather than retract the paper.

    • Jon Hen

      TWQ shouldn’t be defending it’s freedom to publish things which by it’s own standards should have been rejected. Why should any organisation be defended for breaking it’s own rules?

      • WPW1


  • Rohan Donald

    OMG the power that the age of reason & it’s scientific method gave the European collonist nations may have had some beneficial effects on the collonised as in they’ve too enjoyed the fruits of science.
    The age of reason is for now finished in the academy replaced with a new faith canon reminiscent of the premodern religious roots of university.

    • T J Denman

      ‘It’s scientific method’! ‘Colllonised’! You illiterate idiot. Get off this site.

      • Rohan Donald

        Its good too sea the grammar police are triggered.

        • T J Denman

          ‘Good too sea’! What a KUNT.

  • Morten Fangok Olesen

    India has most likely benefitted from Britain’s interference. They would have had no common language, no infrastructure at all and probably no democratic institutions. The strongest prevail, they always have, and they always will – that is human nature.

  • Tatiana Covington

    Hey Greeks, tell LSU to fuck off and hold the events anyway, but off campus.