New Zealand

University of Auckland student who admitted raping a student allowed her to continue studying

A woman who says she was raped twice by a fellow student was left hidden in her quarters and ended up dropping out of university after the man was allowed to continue her studies. Photo / 123RF

A student who a university attorney agreed to have twice raped and physically assaulted another student received a written reprimand and was allowed to continue studying.

The victim complained to the University of Auckland about the two sexual assaults, as well as several other attacks including her rapist covering his face with a pillow so he could not breathe when confronted.

The university prosecutor accepted what had happened, scolded the man and told him not to contact the woman. But eight months after his filing, he is still studying at the university.

However, the woman had to drop out of school and return to her home country after becoming severely depressed.

Just last week the university told the woman in a letter that the man would face a disciplinary committee for his actions – a day after the Herald began asking questions on Sunday.

In that letter, the university admitted the failure of its disciplinary procedures, stating that the prosecutor did not have the power to resolve such a serious case and should have been referred to the university disciplinary committee.

In the letter, the university said the prosecutor had accepted that last year the man, who was staying in the same university residence as the woman, had sex with her while she was too drunk to consent.

The woman told the Herald on Sunday that the two were part of the same group of friends at the time and she gave him the benefit of the doubt. “I didn’t know him that well and I didn’t want to believe that he would do something bad.”

In the same year, the couple dated briefly. During that time, the woman says she had sex with her again without consent.

The letter said the prosecutor confirmed the allegation that the man “had sex with [the victim] without consent as she told him to stop and pushed him away from her, but he resumed the act. “

He added that when the victim later “tried to confront each other [the student] … he kept a pillow over her face so she couldn’t breathe. “

The prosecutor also agreed that the man had touched her without consent while trying to sleep, and on another occasion that, when he was drunk, he had “pinned her to his bed and would not let her go”.

The Herald contacted the man on Sunday but declined to comment.

The woman filed a complaint at the university, but says the man stayed at her residence for several weeks before he was asked to leave.

Meanwhile, she was too scared to leave her room in case she ran into him. Traumatized and severely depressed, unable to continue her second semester studies, she sought help from the Attorney’s Office and Campus Care.

She says she was advised to move home to her family’s country so they could help her cope with the trauma. But she felt that her university would not make an exception for her to continue her studies in a way that would allow her to pursue a career in medicine.

But on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the university told the Herald: “The university doesn’t believe they had recommended that he go home, but we certainly were sympathetic to his decision to return to a place that felt safe and supported. Unfortunately, the cards she was enrolled in may not be completed offshore. She was advised on ways she could enter medicine at a later time. “

Heartbroken, the woman left New Zealand.

In October, he received a letter saying that the university accepted that “on the basis of probability” the man had violated the student code. He would be given a written reprimand and told not to contact her.

He was also advised to take a course on “creating cultures of consent and respect”.

The University of Auckland overturned its attorney's decision to send the student a written warning about the allegations. Photo / NZME
The University of Auckland overturned its attorney’s decision to send the student a written warning about the allegations. Photo / NZME

That letter “devastated her,” the woman said. “While I was at home receiving therapy … he was able to finish the school year and live her life as if nothing had happened.”

And the man continued to contact the woman after she left the country, in violation of the no-contact agreement. The Herald on Sunday listened to a tape recording of a phone call in which the man admitted raping her.

“But you admit you raped me,” he says in the tape.

“It’s kind of – technically it’s rape, yeah,” he says.

Police defines rape such as sexual intercourse without consent – noting that a person cannot consent to sex if they are too drunk to consent or refuse.

The woman says she immediately sent the registration to the prosecutor’s office, which said she would pass the matter to the disciplinary committee, which has the power to unsubscribe students.

“It seemed like a good thing, because I thought it would ultimately mean that it would have consequences for her actions and that I would be able to get justice for myself,” she said.

Four months later, she says she was given a date for the hearing, but was told that the commission would only consider the fact that the man had broken the no-contact rule. She would not reopen the rape investigation as the matter was already “settled”.

Frustrated, feeling hopeless, she contacted the Herald on Sunday.

“The whole reason I went through this process was that there would be consequences for her actions so that this would never happen to another girl again,” she said.

Sunday’s Herald asked questions at the university last week. The next day, the university wrote to the woman to say that the attorney’s original decision was incorrect and that the disciplinary committee would reopen the case.

The University regulations provided for the disciplinary commission to examine cases of a serious nature or which could lead to the cancellation of a student’s enrollment.

“Your complaint against [the man] has reached this threshold. The prosecutor does not have the power under the statute to resolve such cases with a written reprimand, which he claimed to do. “

The university chancellor had overturned the prosecutor’s decision and a disciplinary hearing would be held “as soon as reasonably possible”.

A spokesperson told the Herald on Sunday: “The university acknowledged that this process was not being handled properly and apologized to the student for it. We cannot comment further while the disciplinary process is ongoing.”

The disciplinary hearing is set for Wednesday. The woman is also considering filing a police complaint against the man.

Sexual Harm – Where to Get Help
If it’s an emergency and you think you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you have ever been sexually assaulted or abused and need to speak to someone, please contact Safe to talk confidential, at any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email support@safetotalk.nz
• For more information or to visit the web chat safetotalk.nz
Alternatively, contact your local police station – Click here for a list.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, remember it’s not your fault.

University of Auckland student who admitted raping a student allowed her to continue studying

SourceUniversity of Auckland student who admitted raping a student allowed her to continue studying

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