President of Oregon State Apologizes to Sexual Assault Victim Brenda Tracy

President of Oregon State Apologizes to Sexual Assault Victim Brenda TracyIt took 16 years, but the current President of Oregon State has issued an apology to Brenda Tracy who reported being a sexual assault by four men, two of whom were Oregon State football players at the time.

Revising the Statute of Limitations Regarding Sexual Assault

In part, President Edward J. Ray, wrote:

OSU cannot control the criminal justice system, but I have asked university staff to obtain the police reports for the case and to determine if there are any actions we can take now under OSU’s code of student conduct. There may be no formal course of action available to us but we must try.

While legal minds could no doubt explain how it makes sense to have a statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes, I find that appalling. Hopefully, justice delayed is not justice entirely denied in this case. We are currently trying to get the facts regarding OSU’s handling of this matter in 1998, including what efforts were made then to reach out to Ms. Tracy to help her deal with the terrible physical and emotional harm she suffered. If a case of this nature was reported to the university today, OSU’s Office of Equity and Inclusion would work to stop the sexual misconduct, assist the survivor and prevent a recurrence.

President Ray is to be applauded for his courageous stand against statutes of limitations regarding sexual assault crimes. Rather than make excuses to protect the institution, Ray appears to genuinely interested in the welfare of the victim as well as the future protection of students from such heinous behavior.

Drawing Attention to Victims of Sexual Assault

Brenda Tracy’s story has drawn attention, once again, to how difficult it can be for victims of sexual assault and abuse to find justice through the court system. Although Brenda reported the assault back in 1998, the crime was not prosecuted. The only repercussions for the assailants were that Beavers football coach Mike Riley suspended the two players involved for one football game in 1998. President Ray is right to acknowledge that the current statutes of limitations for prosecuting these crimes can unfairly protect criminals and punish victims.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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