Tuesday, March 20, 2012

He said/she said rape claim dropped, accused sues accuser

An unnamed 20-year-old female undergraduate at the College of William and Mary claimed that in the early morning hours of October 15, 2011, she was raped in a campus residence hall by a 27-year-old male undergraduate and Iraq War veteran named Jeffrey B. Weaver.

According to the criminal complaint, the accuser told the police that she and the accused walked from the College Delly to her dorm room at around 1:45 a.m. When they arrived, she said, the two spent time kissing before she asked him to leave. She claimed that all she wanted to do was kiss. She asked him to leave, she said, but he would not get off of her. According to the police report, the woman said that Mr. Weaver physically overpowered and raped her, then departed.

Mr. Weaver maintains he had consensual sex with the woman and that she provided him with a condom. After about 10 minutes she said she didn’t want to continue, and Mr. Weaver says he stopped.  He claims the accuser changed her story multiple times after reporting the encounter. He claims the accuser told a friend “at first, I kinda said yes,” then changed her mind.  Moreover, he says, details about the alleged attack also changed.  In nurse’s notes from Riverside Hospital where a rape examination took place, he says the woman said Mr. Weaver retrieved his own condom from his pocket, whereas, at Mr. Weaver’s bond hearing in October, the accuser said she gave a condom to him.  Mr. Weaver alleges the woman provided false testimony in hearings to get him expelled from the college.

One news report, posted online just three days after the alleged incident, described the encounter in terms that led readers to believe it was a definite rape:

▲"The Virginia Gazette reported the perpetrator to be Jeffrey B. Weaver, a 27-year-old undergraduate student." (In fact, the online report from the October 18, 2011 Virginia Gazette did not report that Mr. Weaver was "the perpetrator." It only said that Mr. Weaver had been "charged" and was a "suspect," although it did refer to the accuser as "victim.")

▲"It is likely that Weaver will now be dismissed from the College in light of the 2011 Campus Safety Report, which instituted serious consequences for those whose actions were in breach of the sexual misconduct policy."

▲"This shocking incident adds to current statistics at the College that show that five percent of students have experienced rape or attempted rape in the last year, raising questions about campus safety."

In January 2012, charges against Mr. Weaver were dropped. According to Commonwealth Attorney Maureen Kufro, after reviewing the evidence of the case and consulting with the alleged victim, the decision was made to not prosecute. Kufro would not elaborate on the specific reasons for dropping the charges.

Now, Mr. Weaver has filed a civil action accusing the 20-year-old woman of knowingly giving false information to police and health care workers, and repeating it to college officials while seeking to have him removed as a student at W&M.

The suit accuses the accuser of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution. It seeks $5 million in compensatory damages, plus interest and court costs. He also seeks $350,000 on each count. Further, the suit emphasizes that the woman’s statements led to media coverage. He lists more than a dozen print, TV and Internet accounts of the story, which caused him to become depressed and withdrawn, and his hair began to fall out.

It would be most unusual if this accuser has the ability to pay a sizable judgment entered against her.

Despite the fact that the allegations of the complaint represent Mr. Weaver's assertions and there has been no adjudication, some readers assume they know the truth.  The comments beneath news story include the following: "Good for him, I hope he wins and I'm a female . . .." And: "FINALLY...it appears that the 'tables are turned' towards JUSTICE and what will eventually be the TRUTH!" And: "These girls think they can get a man all worked up then change their mind. Then ruin a mans life. . . . ." (The last comment is curious, given that women are entitled to "change their minds" during the act.)

Isn't it curious that so many people seem to know what happened based on the word of just one party?