2007 De Anza College rape investigation

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The 2007 De Anza rape investigation was a police inquiry into allegations of sexual assault of a minor arising from an off-campus party on March 4, 2007. The investigation focused on eight members of the 2007 De Anza College baseball team. The allegations were investigated by the Santa Clara County, California Sheriff's Department, and reviewed by Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr. June 4, 2007, Carr stated that no charges would be filed. This decision was questioned by many, and the Office of the California Attorney General Jerry Brown was invited by the prosecutor to perform an independent investigation of the available evidence. May 2, 2008, the Attorney General's office determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone present with a crime.

Allegations of assault[edit]

On March 4, 2007, three members of the De Anza College woman's soccer team alleged that, while attending a party off-campus at the home of a member of the college baseball team, heard a commotion, and knelt to look through an un-screened French door pane. They witnessed an intoxicated 17-year-old girl being sexually assaulted by two or more people. They further stated that a number of other people were in the same room, observing the incident and cheering. They were told to go away and the door was blocked. The women stated that they intervened, removed the girl, and took her to the hospital.[1] It was found she was covered with someone else's vomit.[2]


The members of the soccer team reported the incident, and the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department investigated. No arrests were made, even after a second woman came forward to say that she too had been sexually assaulted by De Anza college baseball players.[3] The results of the investigation were turned over to the Office of the Santa Clara County District Attorney.[4] The sheriffs did not investigate the scene until nearly 23 hours after the woman was brought to hospital.[5] The district attorney's office conducted additional investigations, and presented its evidence to a grand jury. On June 4, 2007, District Attorney Dolores Carr announced that she would not charge anyone involved in the alleged incident with a crime.[6] Carr later explained that to reveal the details of the case that led her to this decision would have a chilling effect on other rape claims.[7]

Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith stated that she believed a sexual assault did occur. D.A. Carr submitted the case to the Office of the State Attorney General for review.[8][9][10]

Public reaction and aftermath[edit]

The decision not to prosecute was questioned widely. There was negative reaction in the form of public protests,[11][12] and adverse comments by the county sheriff,[6] by a number of newspaper columnists,[13][14] and editorial page writers.[15] Carr invited Jerry Brown, then the California Attorney General, to conduct an independent assessment of the evidence. Brown accepted, and his office commenced an investigation, later releasing its results.[16][17] It determined there was evidence that a crime had occurred, but there was also insufficient evidence to identify those responsible. The investigation noted the physical descriptions of the attackers varied so widely that they could not be accurately identified. The victim was characterized as having no memory of the incident after her arrival at the party. The report concluded that these factors made proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as required for a criminal trial, impossible. The report further indicated that widespread intoxication among the party's attendees hampered the accuracy and reliability of their memories of the event. As a result, Carr's office announced that no charges would be filed, and the criminal case was closed.[17]

ABC News 20/20 episode[edit]

An ABC News 20/20 episode aired on June 5, 2009 on the 2007 De Anza case. During the episode April Groelle, Lauren Chief Elk and Lauren Bryeans allege that they witnessed a rape of a teenager by members of baseball team and stated: If three witnesses aren't enough, 'why is rape even a crime?' Meanwhile, Sheriff Laurie Smith called the case 'frustrating', saying it was possible the baseball players were sticking to a code of silence.[18] After the episode, one of the baseball players gave an interview about the party.[19]

Civil case[edit]

The victim then proceeded to take the case to civil court in February 2011, seeking monetary compensation from her attackers.[20] Defendants Knopf and Chadwick claimed that the sex was consensual. Six other men were also listed in the lawsuit when the trial began in late February, but subsequently settled with the plaintiff or had the lawsuit against them dismissed.[21] In the civil trial, another woman, "Jane Doe II", indicated that she wanted to testify about her own rape by one of the defendants in Jane Doe's case, which took place 10 weeks before the 2007 party.[22] That defendant later settled, but according to the plaintiff's attorneys, a witness came forward placing Chadwick in the room during Jane Doe II's rape. Jane Doe II's case was excluded from the trial, as the court found there was not enough evidence that Chadwick had planned the attacks.[23] On April 7, 2011, the jury in the civil case found Knopf and Chadwick to be not liable for the charges against them so no damages were awarded.[21]

After Judge Aaron Persky's sentencing of Brock Turner in 2016, Persky was criticized by Jane Doe's attorneys for allowing suggestive photos of the unidentified victim, taken at a party a year after the gang rape, into evidence, and preventing other victims from testifying.[3][24][25] Attorneys for "Jane Doe" said the photographs were not the only evidence that Persky unfairly permitted. Four of the baseball players had invoked Fifth Amendment rights not to self-incriminate during the discovery phase of the litigation. According to a lawyer for Doe, that was a critical juncture: it prevented the victim's team from obtaining evidence that could have helped them pursue their case. The original judge in the case ruled in 2010 that the defendants could refuse to testify, but that would also mean that they would be prohibited from subsequently testifying in the case. That ruling was, however, overturned by Persky after he took over the trial in 2011, a move that Doe's attorneys say undermined her case.[3] Persky was recalled by voters on June 5, 2018.


  1. ^ Witnesses to Alleged De Anza Rape Speak Out http://www.ktvu.com/news/13370961/detail.html
  2. ^ Roberts, Deborah; Redmond, Lynn; Tomaselli, Lisa (June 4, 2009). "Witnesses: We Broke Up Gang Rape of Girl, 17". ABC News. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Walters, Joanna; Wong, Julia Carrie; Levin, Sam (June 9, 2016). "Stanford judge allowed revealing photos of alleged gang-rape victim in prior case". The Guardian. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Investigators Plan to Present Evidence". San Francisco Gate. March 23, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ Sean Webby (May 26, 2010). "Former official: Sheriff's office reacted slowly in De Anza rape case". East Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  6. ^ a b Coté, John (June 6, 2007). "SANTA CLARA COUNTY / D.A. won't file in case involving De Anza athletes / Sex assault decision stuns investigators in Sheriff's Department". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sue Hutchison (2007-05-28). "Hutchison: De Anza rape case sends bleak message". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  8. ^ Nevius, C.W. (June 6, 2007). "State's Involvement Could Give Fresh Start to De Anza case". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  9. ^ Webby, Sean (June 6, 2007). "AG to Review De Anza Case". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  10. ^ Griffy, Leslie (March 3, 2008). "De Anza rape case in Limbo, Year Later". The Oakland Tribune. 
  11. ^ Griffy, Leslie (May 25, 2007). "De Anza sex case decision protested". Silicon Valley Mercury News. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Protesters Demand Justice In Alleged De Anza Rape". KRXI. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  13. ^ Nevius, C.W. (June 2, 2007). "Alleged rape victim wants day in court -- D.A. should give it". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  14. ^ Herhold, Scott (May 22, 2007). "Herhold: Questions persist in De Anza case, and we deserve answers". Silicon Valley. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ "De Anza rape -- where's justice?". San Francisco Gate. June 5, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  16. ^ "SANTA CLARA COUNTY / Experts assess Brown's move in De Anza case". The San Francisco Chronicle. June 7, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Coté, John (May 3, 2008). "State: Evidence lacking in De Anza rape case". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  18. ^ Deborah Roberts. "Alleged Gang Rape Ends With No Criminal Charges but Civil Suit Pending". ABC News 20/20. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  19. ^ Scott Herhold (June 21, 2009). "Herhold: A young man's story of the De Anza rape case - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  20. ^ Tracey Kaplan (February 25, 2011). "De Anza trial begins with question: Was woman gang-raped or a seductress? - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  21. ^ a b "No defendants found liable in De Anza rape trial, no damages awarded". Silicon Valley Mercury News. April 7, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  22. ^ Tracey Kaplan (February 20, 2011). "Woman with similar claim could impact civil trial over alleged De Anza gang rape - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  23. ^ Tracey Kaplan (March 15, 2011). "De Anza civil trial: Plaintiff back on stand for second day - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  24. ^ Was Stanford rape judge Aaron Persky biased in 2011 case?. Daily Forward, Josefin Doleston, June 10, 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  25. ^ "De Anza civil case blog Feb. 25: Woman pressing rape allegations against former baseball players". The Mercury News. June 6, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.