WACO, Texas (KWTX) A former Baylor fraternity president who was indicted in 2016 on four counts of sexual assault on Monday pleaded no contest to a lesser charge that won't require him to serve time or register as a sex offender.
Jacob Walter Anderson, 24, indicted on four counts of sexual assault in connection with an alleged rape in which the victim was left lying outside unconscious, entered the plea Monday to one count of unlawful restraint in exchange for a sentence of three years unadjudicated probation and will not be required to register as a sex offender.
The offense is a third-degree felony.
KWTX erroneously reported earlier he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Judge Ralph Strother, in 19th District Court, ordered the probation department to complete a pre-sentence investigation in the case, after which the judge will make a final determination on Anderson’s sentence.
Assistant District Attorney Hillary Laborde offered the plea deal Monday.
The victim’s family later released a statement, which in part reads: “By agreeing to this plea, Hillary Laborde and the DA’s office have allowed that rape is no longer a crime in Texas.”
“This victim was told there was enormous amounts of evidence and a conviction was almost sure. And now two and half years later after living through hell, having the trial delayed a week before it was to occur and then never rescheduled, the DA has decided not to bother even trying to get justice,” the family’s statement said.
Local attorney and former McLennan County DA Vic Feazell represented the family in the criminal matters and attorney Jim Dunnam is representing the family in civil matters, Feazell said.
“As a former DA, I never, ever have seen such a sweetheart deal for a defendant like this,” Feazell said.
“It pays to be rich and white in McLennan County when you’re charged with a crime.”
Telephone calls to Laborde weren’t immediately returned, but McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna later issued a statement in which he defended the plea deal.
“The McLennan County District Attorney’s office is known throughout the state for our aggressive prosecution of sexual assault cases, to say otherwise is simply absurd," he said.
"Let us remind everyone that our oath is to seek justice. In pursuit of that ideal, we must evaluate each case alone on its own merit. Early in this case, law enforcement believed that the victim may have been drugged and this belief has been widely disseminated in the media; however, the evidence did not support that theory," he said.
"This office stands by the plea offered and believes we have achieved the best result possible with the evidence at hand," he said.
Feazell filed a motion in late August that pointed out pleading to the lesser charge would remove the sexual assault charge, guarantee probation and not require Anderson to register as a sex offender, all of which came to pass.
The incident occurred early in the morning on Feb. 21, 2015, during a party at a house at 2629 South 3rd St.
The victim told investigators she was sipping a drink at a Phi Delta Theta fraternity party when “she became disoriented and very confused,” a heavily redacted arrest warrant affidavit says.
The affidavit says Anderson led her outside to a secluded part of the property behind a tent in order to get some air, and then forced her to the ground.
Details of the sexual assault were redacted from the affidavit, which says the victim told investigators that at some point she was unable to breathe and lost consciousness.
She woke up outside, alone and lying face down in her own vomit, the affidavit said.
She was “able to stand up and walk out from that area and find help,” the affidavit said.
The victim returned to the house and found a friend who took her to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center where she was examined there by a sexual assault nurse examiner who verified the rape, police said.
In February, 16 defendants were added to a lawsuit filed over the alleged rape.
The amended petition added additional members of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity to a suit filed earlier in the month against the fraternity, the owner of the house in which the party was held and six fraternity members who served as officers at the time of the incident including Anderson.