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Santa Clara D.A. Won’t File Charges in Alleged De Anza Gang Rape

| October 14, 2011
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(Bay City News) Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen today announced his office would not file criminal charges in the alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old girl by De Anza College baseball players at a house party in 2007.

He said, “What happened on March 3, 2007, at 349 South Buena Vista Ave. in San Jose was reprehensible. It was inexcusable … however, the district attorney’s office cannot prove that a crime occurred and therefore will not file criminal charges.”

The decision of the district attorney’s office reaffirmed the conclusion of a civil trial earlier this year where a Santa Clara County jury found that there was no negligence on the part of the defendants, Christopher Knopf and Kenneth Chadwick.

The defendants were found not liable and did not have to pay damages to the victim, who was seeking $7.5 million.

The civil trial came four years after the victim, who is now 21, claimed she was gang-raped by a group of baseball players at a party in San Jose on March 3, 2007.

Three young women, identified as Lauren Bryeans, Lauren Chief Elk and April Grolle, pushed their way into the room where the victim was allegedly being assaulted and took her to the hospital.

Afterward, both Chief Elk and Grolle publicly described finding the vomiting semi-conscious girl in a room surrounded by eight men with one allegedly between her legs.

Eight members of the team were suspended for team policy violations after the incident came to light.

Knopf and Chadwick claimed that the sex was consensual. The allegations included negligence, battery, sexual battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, conspiracy, unlawful intercourse, rape of an unconscious woman, rape of an intoxicated woman, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Another six men were also listed in the lawsuit when the civil trial began in late February, but they have all settled with the plaintiff or had the lawsuit dismissed.

In 2007, then-District Attorney Dolores Carr decided to not file criminal charges in the case, citing insufficient evidence, a decision that outraged some in the community.

Carr also asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate the case, and that office agreed that there was not enough evidence.

Rosen disagreed with the way the case was handled by his predecessor and before taking office in January, he pledged to reopen and review the case.

“If after reviewing the case and testing all the evidence we can file criminal charges, we will,” Rosen said at the time. “If after reviewing the case and testing all the evidence we can’t then we’ll explain why we weren’t able to file charges. I think that’s just what the community’s entitled to.”

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