Mock trial finds accused perpetrator guilty

Jo Ann Schultz and Jo Ann Schultz

About 120 students attended a mock rape trial that was held in the Union Theater last night. The event was sponsored by the Coalition Agaisnt Sexaul Offenses or CASO. It was a reanacted hearing of an alleged rape case involving two University students. It was meant to be an educational process designed to enlighten students about how the University conducts hearings on campus and how the process works. Rebekah Sandlin, graduate advisor for CASO, said, “We hope that they understand the judicial process so more people will come forward.” It also allowed students to be aware of the various resources that are available on campus if such an incident should happen.

The hearing came with a chairperson, or the Associate Dean of Students, along with the victim, perpetrator, and many witnesses. The tape recorder was turned on at all times. It was designed to be as authentic as the real thing. It started with the character “Tina,” played by Tina Manning, the alleged rape victim giving her testimony to what happened the night she was raped. After Tina’s testimony, the alleged perpetrator, “Jamie,” played by Jamie Williams, was then given the chance to ask questions, which were mediated by the Hearing Officer, played by Michael Ginsburg. Then she called on her witnesses, which included her roommate, a nurse, and a campus police officer who was the investigating officer in this case.

The nurse explained the process “Tina” went through when she brought herself to the Student Health Services. Medical care and any evidence that could be detected from a rape, known as a rape kit, was conducted on “Tina.” She also explained that evidence collection and contraceptions can be obtained within 72 hours of an assault.

Various questions such as “Does Tina bring guys over alot?” and “What she described to you, would you consider that rape?” were just some of the questions that were asked by the audience Then Jamie presented his side of the story. “First of all, I’m not really sure why I’m here,” were his opening words. Questions were again taken from the audience as well as “Tina”.

After the complaintant and respondent are given the opportunity to make their final statements, the audience was split into groups and asked to play the role of the jury. Responsible is the equivalent of guilty and not responsible if you’re not guilty.

The jury found “Jamie” responsible. The “real” Jamie said, “This was a very very very difficult role for me.” Tina Manning, said, “I learned a lot. Tina in the scenario was intoxicated and she said no. No means no.”

Sandlin said she was very pleased with the turnout of the audience and their reaction and involvement towards the hearing.