District attorney won't reopen De Anza rape case

October 14, 2011 7:30:14 PM PDT
The controversial De Anza College gang rape case from 2007 will not be re-opened. The new district attorney campaigned on a promise to reexamine what happened between De Anza College baseball players and a 17-year-old girl.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen says his office did an extensive review of the evidence and came to the same conclusion as the previous district attorney and the attorney general. They say with the excessive drinking and conflicting testimonies in this case, it is impossible to prove exactly what happened.

Rosen has brought a close to a case that has haunted many for more than four-and-a-half years. He says he cannot prove a crime took place, but calls the sexual activity in a San Jose house on March 3, 2007 involving the teen and nine members of the De Anza baseball team reprehensible.

"What happened to Jessica is not her fault. The defendants' behavior was not acceptable conduct in a civilized society. However the district attorney's office cannot prove that a crime occurred on March 3, 2007 and therefore will not file criminal charges," said Rosen. "One of them kept others from coming into the room, others watched, none of them did anything to stop what was going on."

Jessica Gonzalez, who had accused the men of gang rape, talked exclusively to ABC7 in August. At the time, the previous district attorney and the attorney general had already declined to prosecute the ballplayers.

"I feel like the laws and the justice system kind of failed and I think it's not just my case, in cases like this, I think it just fails," said Gonzalez in August.

Rape crisis advocates said they do believe a crime took place at the drunken party and worry the district attorney's final review of the evidence sends the wrong message to victims.

"We all have the responsibility of supporting victims of sexual violence to holding offenders and only offenders accountable for their behavior and to work collectively to end sexual violence," said YWCA Rape Crisis director Leandra Peloquin. "This incident rose to the level of a definition of a sexual assault. We are disappointed."

The former ballplayers and their attorneys applaud the decision, just as they did the outcome of a civil case in which the jury found the former defendants not liable, although there were some settlement agreements. The ballplayers have always maintained Gonzalez consented to group sex. Investigators with the district attorney's office say they came to the same conclusion.

"We have and will continue to aggressively prosecute sexual assault cases. The fact that we're not able to prosecute this case says nothing beyond this case," said Rosen. "This is a resolution to the case. It is not a satisfactory resolution, but it's a resolution. Sometimes there are bad things that happen for which there aren't a remedy in the criminal justice system."

"It was nearly impossible to determine what her blood alcohol level was. She was intoxicated to some degree, but what that degree was, we do not know," said Chief Trail Deputy Ray Mendoza.

Gonzalez issued a statement Friday saying, "I am very disappointed in our justice system, I can only pray that victims find strength in my journey. I didn't hide, I told my story, and I am not embarrassed. I did all I could to help the truth come out, and now I will move on."


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