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Old 06-03-2007, 06:15 PM   #1
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"She had vomit dribbling down her face"

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Lauren Chief Elk (left) and April Grolle

Alleged rape victim's rescuers threatened

Soccer players are called names after intervening at party

C.W. Nevius

Sunday, June 3, 2007


April Grolle, Lauren Chief Elk and Lauren Breayans never expected to be called heroes. But they never expected to be called names either.

The three, all soccer players on the highly regarded De Anza College women's soccer team, were thrust into the national spotlight when they rushed in and rescued a 17-year-old girl who was, they say, being sexually assaulted at a March 3 party in San Jose. They say the victim was so intoxicated she appeared to be comatose, and that eight or more men stood around watching one of them sexually assault her.

The three broke in, grabbed the girl and carried her out. They took her to the hospital, notified authorities and volunteered to testify in any court proceedings. What more could you ask?

To keep their mouths shut. To butt out. To mind their own business.

That's the message the soccer players got from the men accused in the case.

"People I didn't even know were coming up to me and saying, 'Stop your lying. Shut your f -- mouth,' " Chief Elk said in an interview last week. "We'd be walking around, and people would actually come up and get in our face."

It reached the point where they felt threatened. Cmdr. John Hirokawa of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department confirms that deputies were called to the campus on a complaint of harassment.

"I can say that we went out there at least once in regards to a possible complaint," Hirokawa said. "People were warned."

After the Sheriff's Department and District Attorney Dolores Carr investigated the case, Carr declined to press charges, saying she doesn't have enough evidence to convict. Although nearly everyone agrees that, in Carr's words, "bad things happened in that room," there does not appear to be a positive identification of the perpetrator. And those speaking for the men said that any sex that occurred was consensual.

"We did our own investigation early on,'' says attorney John Cahners, who represents Steve Rebagliati, a baseball player whose parents own the house where the alleged assault took place. "What we found was, no, we don't think a crime did occur. But I am not going to drag a 17-year-old girl through the dirt to explain what we found.''

Cahners also says that because the men were 19 and 20 years old, sex with an underage girl would be only a misdemeanor. He says that's the law if a victim is no more than three years younger than the person accused of having sex with her.

"It seems to me that a bunch of folks have already made up their minds,'' says Cahners. "I would say this: The D.A. is a woman, she is married to a policeman, and she is the former head of the sexual assault team in the D.A.'s office. Do you really think she doesn't want to prosecute?''

(Cahners, it should be said, is a supporter of Carr's, giving $1,000 to her election campaign. He says he did not donate to her opponent.)

That's the case against prosecuting, but Grolle and Chief Elk failed to get the message. Their experience at that party made such an indelible impression on them that they couldn't keep quiet. They still can't get the image of the victim out of their minds.

Grolle, Chief Elk and Breayans were leaving the party that night when a female partygoer came up to tell them that there was "a girl in a room with eight guys."

"That didn't sound right," Grolle says. "We had no idea who she was, but we knocked on the door."

They were confronted by someone they knew as a De Anza student and a baseball player. He shouted at them that this was "none of your f -- ing business! Get out of here!"

But when he opened the door, the soccer players saw the victim on a mattress on the floor being sexually assaulted. Breayans, who is out of the country until June 17, says she can identify one man who was sexually assaulting the girl.

They shoved their way through the door and confronted the men.

"We weren't very nice," Grolle says. "We were swearing like sailors. I couldn't believe some of the words that were coming out of my mouth."

They got the guy off the girl -- although they didn't get a look at his face -- and tried to get her on her feet. She was unable to stand. Grolle says they looked at the men and asked for help to take her out. Instead, the guys drifted away sheepishly. Breayans and Grolle draped her arms around their shoulders and pulled her through the door, her feet dragging behind.

"It just boggles the mind that not one of these big, strong men stood up to help us carry this lifeless girl out of the room," Grolle says.

"She had vomit dribbling down her face," Chief Elk has said. "We had to scoop vomit out of her mouth and lift her up."

(Cahners says tests proved that the vomit was not the victim's. But Grolle says "that's even worse,'' meaning that someone else's vomit was in the girl's mouth.)

"She was literally lifeless," Grolle says. "Her eyes were completely shut. On the ride to the hospital, I had to keep my hand under her nose to make sure she was breathing."

This, remember, is the girl who is supposed to have "consented" to sex.

The three soccer players are waiting. They are waiting for someone to step up, to be a man. There were people in that room who didn't do anything. But they knew that what was happening was wrong.

My guess is the men in that room haven't been sleeping very well since this happened. They've been warned to stay quiet, to keep the code of silence.

"I could see this coming," Hirokawa says. "The culture now is not to be a snitch, not to say anything."

"What I think about is their mothers," Grolle says. "What do they think?"

My guess is they think they are glad their sons got off. And they don't worry about someone else's daughter.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:15 PM   #2
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Yes, and?
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:17 PM   #3
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Male bonding has changed a lot since I went to school.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:28 PM   #4
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My comment was posted when it was just a picture with no text, for the record. Lest anyone think I'm a heartless bitch.

It sounds like a Lifetime TV movie. Sadly, all too real and common.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:32 PM   #5
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I applaud the girls who got involved and got the girl being sexually abused out of the there.

That was a brave thing they did, and all could have turned ugly on them quickly with a room full of men.
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Old 06-03-2007, 06:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
Male bonding has changed a lot since I went to school.


my guess is that women are less likely to put up with as much as they used to.
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Old 06-03-2007, 07:19 PM   #7
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This is a horrible thing.

I still can't believe young women get that drunk and out of control at parties full of young men.
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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Originally posted by martha
I still can't believe young women get that drunk and out of control at parties full of young men.


you'd think their mothers would have taught them better.

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Old 06-03-2007, 09:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
This is a horrible thing.

I still can't believe young women get that drunk and out of control at parties full of young men.
And I can't believe you might be hinting (giving benefit of the doubt) that the fault lies with the girl drinking so much? You're a supporter of men learning to keep it under control. Why the change?

And Irvine, you cannot be serious.

Wow. It's like Opposite World in FYM today.
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Old 06-03-2007, 09:54 PM   #10
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While it's true that no one should in any way blame a victim, there is really something to be said for people to make smart decisions and do things that might not lead them into dangerous situations.

Of course, someone could take all the precautions (not drink, have a friend there with them) and still have something horrible happen to them.

I do not find anything wrong with saying that people, women especially, need to be more careful and not put themselves into dangerous situations.

And yeah, it's easy to say "don't drink so you can be fully aware of what's going on," but I know that's difficult for a lot of people who just want to fit in.

But no, it was absolutely not this girl's fault. Maybe she had a friend there to watch out for her as she drank, maybe someone slipped her a mickey. Whatever happened, she was horribly abused.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:08 PM   #11
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
And I can't believe you might be hinting (giving benefit of the doubt) that the fault lies with the girl drinking so much? You're a supporter of men learning to keep it under control. Why the change?
Go back and read what I said. READ IT. Where did I say anything you accuse me of saying?

I'll say it again:

It's a horrible thing.

But young women should not be drinking to unconsciousness when surrounded by a group of young men.

Let's see: Did I say anywhere in there that it was her fault?


NO.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:11 PM   #12
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The scariest part I saw is that it's been determined no crime took place. Aren't there laws somewhere that say if someone is so intoxicated they're passed out, they can't consent to sex?

I'm trying to think of what they could have found that would lead them to say no crime was committed.

That's horrifying and disgusting. I hope none of those boys can sleep at night.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:12 PM   #13
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And whether Irvine meant it or not: Where were the parents of all of these young people? Sure it was a party, but did the parents of these young men teach them to respect others? Did they teach them self-control? Did the parents of the young woman allow her to drink to this kind of excess when she lived at home? Did they see a problem and simply hope it would go away instead of dealing with it?

All the parents in this situation need to really examine the kind of people they raised their children to be.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:14 PM   #14
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I dunno ... I'd say certainly question the parenting of boys who would do such a thing. But a LOT of kids this age drink to excess these days. I can't imagine all of those parents even know what's going on.

Yeah, you could argue that those parents don't have a great relationship with their kids, if they don't know they're going around getting wasted at parties, but it's hard for me to write them all off as automatically bad parents.

Maybe that's just naive of me, though.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:15 PM   #15
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Oh, I'm not saying there is not a responsible decisions issue here, but it's not the focus of the issue, we agree. We've all been young and under the influence of good times with friends which can lead to a false sense of safety which might then lead to us making decisions we would not normally do. There's countless external factors in this story which we don't know about, but still leave the bulk of it that she was unconscious essentially and these blokes acted as described.

I only questioned Martha further because I know from her years on here that she is not a buyer of women having to alter themselves to accommodate the weak-willed man. Unless I am mistaken on either that or her comment above. I had to double check it was her comment! And same with Irvine. That falls into the countless external influences here. It's not really part of the issue that these men took part in a rape, or aided in the act of one by doing nothing. The more I think about it, the angrier I get because really, whatever she did is irrelevant. What they did is criminal. Misdemeanour, my arse.
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