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Jury takes 28 minutes to acquit student accused of rape – long after college expelled him for it

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On campus, the allegations were damning and life-altering. In the jury deliberation room, they were rubbish.

A student expelled by the College of Charleston in 2014 for rape has been vindicated by the criminal justice system, though his life has already been ruined beyond repair.

The Post and Courier reports that a jury took just 28 minutes to acquit Paul Heyward Robinson of sexually assaulting a fellow student who claimed she passed out and woke in the middle of the assault.

Prosecutors are blaming police bungling for the loss, rather than questioning the strength of the evidence:

At Robinson’s three-day trial in late November, defense attorneys said the police investigator acknowledged never reviewing a medical exam of the victim or interviewing key witnesses before arresting him.

“There were aspects of the investigation that were not as thorough as it could have been,” said Assistant Solicitor Drew Evans, who prosecuted the case, “and the detective acknowledged this.”

As with other cases – including a rare male-against-female accusation – Robinson’s lawyers said the accuser reported the sexual encounter as nonconsensual because of social pressure.

The two met for the time first that night – a Valentine’s Day date arranged through a dating app. Now both 31, they were older than the average on-campus undergraduate.

The College of Charleston wasted little time after Robinson was arrested, expelling him after a quickie Title IX trial under the “50 percent and a feather” preponderance standard of evidence. His accuser said she didn’t feel safe with him on campus.

Though Robinson didn’t sue the college, he’s now suing Charleston police for a “shoddy probe,” according to the paper, which continually refers to his accuser as a “victim” despite Robinson’s lightning-fast acquittal.

Another College of Charleston student is taking direct aim at the college’s Title IX disciplinary procedures, however.

The unnamed student’s lawyer, Kristina Supler, told the paper that colleges “went from under-tackling the issue to mismanagement and deprivation of human rights [for accused students]. It’s a situation where students are left to defend themselves with very few avenues.”

Read the article.

h/t Scott Greenfield

MORE: Male student allegedly accused female because friends ‘teased’ him

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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