Jacob Walter Anderson, the former Baylor University fraternity president who received a $400 fine and zero jail time on Monday on charges related to rape, has been banned from his current campus at the University of Texas at Dallas but will still receive his college degree.
Anderson was expelled from Baylor University after he was investigated for allegedly drugging and repeatedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old female student during a fraternity party in 2016. The former fraternity president transferred to UT Dallas where he continued his education until the sentencing this week.
Shortly after Anderson’s controversial sentencing, students at UT Dallas created a petition calling for the university to remove Anderson from campus. Anderson was originally indicted on four counts of sexual assault, and faced two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. But after being offered a controversial plea deal of a lesser charge in October, Anderson was given a $400 fine, a recommended three years’ probation and ongoing counseling.
“The students at UT Dallas have a right to feel safe on their campus,” the petition reads. “Anderson submitted a plea of no contest and was sentenced to deferred probation, and will not be made to register as a sex offender. That being the case, the school has a responsibility to ensure that their decision to admit Anderson was fully informed.”
As of Friday morning, over 31,000 students had signed the petition urging UT Dallas officials to expel Anderson.
UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson released a statement on Thursday in response to the petition and controversy surrounding Anderson. Benson said the university was not aware of Anderson’s “legal history.”
“Two years ago we admitted a student without knowing their legal history,” Benson wrote. “Based on recent court action and other information over the last several days, that student will not participate in UTD commencement activities, will not attend UT Dallas graduate school and will not be present on campus as a student or as a guest.”
Although Anderson is banned from campus, Benson wrote that he will still receive his degree if he “successfully satisfies all the requirements of the degree program.”
The victim, identified as Donna Doe in court records, reportedly lambasted Texas State District Judge Ralph Strother’s Monday decision.
“I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment,” Doe said.
Later, she addressed Anderson directly: “It must be horrible to be you, to know what you did to me, to know you are a rapist, to know that you almost killed me, to know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity and stole many other things from me.”
After the alleged rape, the victim told police she woke up alone and choking on her own vomit and easily could’ve died.
The victim’s attorney, Vic Feazell, told local outlet KWTX, “I never, ever have seen such a sweetheart deal for a defendant like this,” adding, “It pays to be rich and white in McLennan County when you’re charged with a crime.”
Judge Strother, who is listed as a prominent alumni of Baylor University, has a history of approving lenient sentences for accused rapists. Multiple petitions have been created calling for Strother’s resignation. As of Friday morning, a Care2 petition calling for the judge’s removal had received over 30,000 signatures.