UNC rape accuser: ‘It’s hard … to focus on school’ with suspect on campus


Delaney Robinson (WRAL via CNN)

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Two days after publicly accusing a college football player of raping her, Delaney Robinson said she worries about running into the suspect on campus.

It’s been seven months since the student first reported the alleged attack to University of North Carolina police. The football player, Allen Artis, was charged this week with sexual battery and assault on a female — both misdemeanors.

Artis was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. His next scheduled court date is September 29.

Artis has not responded to the allegations. The office of his attorney, Sam Coleman, told CNN it had no comment.

Meanwhile, Robinson said she dreads the next time she encounters the athlete at school.

“It’s very difficult. I see him on campus. If I don’t see him, there’s always the possibility that I will, that I will be reminded of that trauma,” she told HLN’s Michaela Pereira on Thursday. “So it’s hard for me to focus on school.”

She reiterated her frustration that it’s taken seven months to bring legal action while “I was treated like a suspect” by authorities.

“They asked me, what was I wearing? What was I drinking? How many men have I slept with? Do I often have one-night stands?” she said.

But after Robinson heard a recording of Artis’ interview with UNC Department of Public Safety officers, she said she was furious.

“My rapist was asked if he had received my phone number that night,” Robinson told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Thursday. “He said no, but he managed to get other girls’ phone numbers. And the DPS investigator said, ‘Rock on.’ ”

UNC said it could not address the allegations because of federal privacy law.

Why misdemeanor charges

Artis’ arrest warrant says he is accused of lying on top of Robinson, pinning her down with his weight as he raped her.

But the district attorney’s office did not bring the charges. In North Carolina, anyone can go before a magistrate and swear to criminal acts that they say happened against them. A magistrate then determines whether there is enough evidence to go forward.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said a felony investigation is still ongoing.

He said the UNC Department of Public Safety “took investigatory steps” on August 26 and 29 and consulted with his office.

“These are very serious charges, and before we go forward we would like to have the investigation completed or close to being completed,” he said.

“There is no question that there was physical contact, but what the circumstances are surrounding the contact are what investigators are trying to determine.”

Woodall said cases such as Robinson’s are “difficult to prosecute and difficult to prove.” While obtaining an arrest warrant requires only probable cause, convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why Robinson spoke out

Typically, media outlets — including CNN — do not name alleged victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Robinson came out publicly.

Women who do speak out say they are giving up something designed to protect them — their anonymity — to pursue justice and help others.

Robinson said she was compelled to go public because “if the student before me had the capability to come forward, I might not be in the position I am today.”

A common frustration

Women who have shared stories of rape or sexual assault often voice frustrations over what they consider authorities’ failure to investigate properly.

“I think it shows the bigger problem we have with the criminal justice system not taking rape very seriously,” said Andrea Pino, co-author of “We Believe You, Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out.”

Other students have shed their anonymity, too. College student Cecilia Carreras published an account of how the University of Richmond handled her report of rape by an athlete. She wrote on The Huffington Post that she went public in hopes the university would improve. The school disputed her account as “inaccurate” in a campuswide email.

At Columbia University, student Emma Sulkowicz went public with her 2013 rape allegations and carried a mattress around the Manhattan campus — including to her commencement ceremony — to protest the school’s handling of her complaint.

She has said she hoped to show how “flawed” the university disciplinary system was when it came to sexual misconduct cases.

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