Campus, News

BU student’s rapist apologizes, avoids jail time

By Sarika Ram and Mugdha Gurram

A former Massachusetts Institute of Technology student previously convicted of aggravated rape pleaded guilty to reduced charges Tuesday. He will not serve time in jail.

Samson Donick, 22, entered the dorm room of a sleeping Boston University student at 33 Harry Agganis Way in October 2015 and raped her in the early hours of the morning.

Donick accepted charges of indecent assault and battery, assault and battery and breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony. He will serve five years’ probation, 1,000 hours of community service, sex offender treatment, GPS monitoring and no further contact with the BU student.

Donick admitted to his actions during the trial and offered a personal apology to the student, fulfilling further conditions of the agreement.

The student said in court that she did not want to testify at the trial because of the emotional harm it could cause her, according to a statement from Suffolk County District Attorney Press Secretary Jake Wark. Judge Janet Sanders reduced the defendant’s conviction after the two sides reached an agreement.

In her statement before the court, the student said she was not the only one affected by her assault.

“Not only did my life forever change the moment I was touched by you, but so did my parents’, my sister’s, my grandparents’, my boyfriend’s and my closest friends’,” she said. “Not just my life, but every life around me.”

The student said her experience in the immediate aftermath of her assault was scarring, describing the hours she spent in the hospital with her best friend and lacrosse coach. She said she spent her morning filling out paperwork for a rape kit, stripping her clothes off and being swabbed for evidence.

“The sexual assault nurse examiner assigned to my case arrived after three hours of waiting ‘because it was a busy night,’” she said. “A busy night in her life means other men and women were becoming victims. With each buzz of her pager, I personally now know the harsh reality of what it means. I understand the pain, anxiety, fear and uncertainty every buzz received before me and buzz after me feels.”

The hearing coincided with a rally Tuesday advocating for lawmakers to implement sexual assault climate surveys on college campuses and to ensure Obama-era sexual assault reporting policies are strengthened, according to a press release from Jane Doe Inc., one of the organizations represented at the rally.

Debra Robbin, the executive director at Jane Doe Inc., said instances of sexual assault on college campuses reflect a widespread issue. She said there must be conversations in all spheres of society for survivors to achieve justice.

“We know that when the experiences of those who are most vulnerable [and] most marginalized are attended to, not only do those survivors benefit, but so do all survivors,” Robbin said. “And so, our work must be to elevate and amplify those voices that have been kept out of these conversations.”

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