She was 17 years old on the night that changed her life, a night she claims several times San Diego State University football players took turns raping her at a Halloween party a few blocks from campus.
The bruises healed, but the injury did not.
She stopped going to high school and completed her graduation course online. She saw a therapist and began keeping a diary detailing her experiences.
Now 18, the young woman at the center of the university’s sexual assault scandal spoke publicly for the first time this week, recalling the details of what happened at the party on October 16, 2021, and her frustration with the police investigation that continues. and lack of action by the university.
In response to a Times investigation detailing the alleged rape, university officials last month defended their decision not to launch their own investigation, saying they did so at the request of the San Diego Police Department. They also said the alleged victim never reported what happened to the university and that police have not confirmed her identity.
But the victim’s father, who spoke to The Times on Friday on condition of anonymity to protect his daughter’s privacy, said he met with a university police officer on Oct. 19, three days after the party. He said he gave a campus police lieutenant his daughter’s name, his phone number and a detailed description of the alleged rape involving the football players. The lieutenant, he said, later told him the case would be handled by the San Diego Police Department.
The parent said it was “absolutely ridiculous” that the university was delaying launching its own investigations or issuing a statement until It was first reported by The Times details of the alleged attack last month.
“To keep quiet about it for over nine months, the very people who allegedly did it were allowed to roam free, to graduate, to continue playing sports,” he said. “It’s driving me crazy.”
His daughter said she was disappointed with how the university responded. The Times does not typically name alleged victims of sex crimes.
“Something like that stays with you forever,” the young woman said. “And all I can really do now is just hope that I can somehow get justice and feel like people are facing consequences for their actions, because I feel like I’ve faced consequences for their actions.”
Her concerns were echoed by student-athletes who reported the alleged rape to officials through the campus’ anonymous messaging system, saying they were concerned the university did not take action against the football players, according to internal records reviewed by The Times. One athlete questioned that officials are “trying to sweep this under the rug because our football team is doing so well.”
One of the players at the center of the allegations has graduated. The university can no longer compel him to submit to a Title IX investigation because he is not a student. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational institutions.
San Diego State issued a statement this week, confirming that a relative of the alleged victim visited campus police on Oct. 19 and told them a report had been filed with the San Diego Police Department. The statement said the university launched its own investigation after police told them last week that it would not jeopardize their criminal investigation.
A spokeswoman for San Diego State said Friday that university president Adela de la Torre was unavailable for comment. In a statement, San Diego State said the school asked police to provide information about its complaint and Title IX procedures to the victim and that the university “was and remains willing to contact the victim directly.” The statement did not explain why the father was not given this information when he met with campus police.
“While conducting the SDPD investigation, the university actively maintained and increased educational activities and training, including mandatory training,” the university said in a statement. The training covered topics such as consent, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse.
The young woman, who spoke publicly for the first time this week with CBS8 in San Diego, said a detective on her case responded within the first few months and that police monitored conversations between her and the students she accused of sexually assaulting her. But since then, she said she has received several updates.
In a June letter to De la Torre, Asst. Police Chief Paul Connelly said police conducted interviews, executed search warrants and evaluated more than 2 terabytes of data. San Diego police did not respond to The Times’ inquiries Friday about whether the criminal investigation was ongoing or what had changed in the case so university officials could continue their review. A spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said police have not referred the alleged rape case for possible prosecution.
The young woman’s experience continued to haunt her.
She came to the Halloween party dressed as a fairy. She said she was already drinking with her friends when she met the San Diego State football player at a house a few blocks from campus. The player gave her a drink and eventually led her inside the house to a bedroom, where she said several of his teammates took turns sexually assaulting her, knocking her down on the bed and ripping out her piercing.
Covered in blood, she found her friends outside after what she believed to be more than an hour.
“I’ve just been raped,” she told them.
The next day, with bruises on her neck and legs, she filed a report with San Diego police and was evaluated for rape at Rady Children’s Hospital. The arduous process lasted through the night as her body was swabbed and tested for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Photos provided to The Times by her attorney, Dan Gillean, show dark bruises on her neck, knees and calves. One photo shows blood on part of her costume. Gilleon said he was preparing a lawsuit that would include the names of known suspects.
The discoveries at San Diego State take place at California State University continues to fight with the Title IX grievance process. The state legislature recently approved state audit about how college campuses deal with such issues, and investigations by The Times found inconsistencies in how the nation’s largest public four-year university system deals with such matters among senior leaders, faculty and students.
Although the woman’s father said San Diego and campus police assured him the accused’s status as college football players would not affect the investigation, he believes their status is the reason so little has been done.
He said his daughter wants to “make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else. So that these guys don’t sign NFL contracts and make a lot of money, don’t get a free pass for this to happen to someone else. Because they got away with it once, they can get away with it twice.”