Jacob Walter Anderson, a former fraternity president at Baylor University who was given a controversial plea deal after being accused of drugging and raping a woman, was banned from a commencement ceremony at his new school on Wednesday.
“There is nothing more important at UT Dallas than the safety and security of our students,” Richard Benson, president of the University of Texas at Dallas, where Anderson is a student, said in a statement. “Based on recent court action and other information over the last several days, the 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.”
Anderson was accused of the assault against an unnamed 19-year-old in 2016. He initially faced two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine after being indicted on four counts of sexual assault but was later offered a plea for a lesser charge, which he accepted. This week, a judge handed him a $400 fine, a recommended three years’ probation and ongoing psychological, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, but no jail time.
The light sentence drew widespread outcry, and the University of Texas said in response that Anderson would not be able to attend the school’s graduation proceedings next week. The university said in a statement that it admitted him two years ago “without knowing [his] legal history.”
Anderson was expelled from Baylor after a separate university investigation into the sexual assault claim.
The alleged victim in the case, identified only as Donna Doe in court records, addressed Anderson and the presiding judge in court during the sentencing.
“I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment,” Doe told Texas State District Judge Ralph Strother, according to a report by the “Today” show.
Her attorney, Vic Feazell, told a local news outlet he had “never, ever seen such a sweetheart deal for a defendant” like Anderson.
“It pays to be rich and white in McLennan County when you’re charged with a crime,” Feazell told KWTX-TV in Waco, Texas.