SAN DIEGO — Warning: Please note this article and video contains mentions of violence, rape and sexual assault that can be disturbing.
The teenager who said she was raped by a group of San Diego State University football players during an off-campus party is speaking out to CBS 8.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case more than nine months after the alleged assault in October 2021.
The teen, who just turned 18-years-old this month, asked not to be identified.
She was age 17 and a senior in high school when the five SDSU students raped her in a bedroom during a Halloween party, the woman said.
The assault happened in the late-night hours of Saturday, October 16 inside a house less than a half mile away from the SDSU campus, she said.
“I arrived at the party. I had already been drinking with the friends that I arrived there with. And, when I walked into the party, I was approached by someone who then gave me a drink and introduced themselves. I was already very intoxicated,” the teen said.
The man, who the teen believed was a senior at SDSU, eventually led her into a bedroom, where several football teammates were waiting, according to the woman. She said she remembers being thrown face down on the bed.
“I'm in the room. I was in and out of consciousness. It's very hard to piece together the details of what was done to me. But there were several men taking turns basically assaulting me aggressively,” she recalled.
The assault lasted about an hour into early Sunday morning, she said, and left her covered in blood and bruises.
“I stumbled out of the room after the assault and found my friend who took me outside. I was bawling my eyes out and they asked me what happened. I immediately told them, I had just been raped,” she said.
After recovering from her injuries on Sunday, the teen said she reported the assault to the San Diego Police Department on Monday, October 18.
She endured hours of sexual assault testing and evidence photography at Rady Children’s Hospital, the woman said.
“I had severe bruising on my neck and all over my body. They took DNA samples of everything. It was a really long process, pictures of all the marks that had been left on me,” she said.
The teen’s father also reported the assault to San Diego State University Police on October 19, speaking face to face to a lieutenant as the officer took written notes, and he gave the lieutenant his daughter’s name, the father told CBS 8.
That night, the University Police Department (UPD) lieutenant phoned the father back and told him SDPD was handling the investigation.
A spokesperson for UPD emailed CBS 8 the following statement:
'A formal police report was never filed with UPD as one was filed with the San Diego Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the case. As previously shared, when the alleged victim’s family member approached UPD, UPD immediately contacted SDPD, per UPD protocol when reports involve off campus criminal incidents. SDPD confirmed with UPD that it had taken a report from the alleged victim and had initiated its own criminal investigation and requested that the university not take any action that could compromise SDPD’s investigation and, as the university has shared in earlier statements, the university complied with SDPD’s investigation to help ensure the integrity of their investigation."
SDSU has received criticism for not immediately initiating its own Title IX investigation.
Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school that receives funding from the federal government. The ACLU describes Title IX as “a powerful tool for students who want to combat sexual violence at school and on college campuses.”
On Thursday, SDSU issued the following statement to CBS 8 regarding the father’s report to UPD:
“A relative of the alleged victim visited the San Diego State University Police Department (UPD) on October 19 and informed UPD that a report had been made to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). UPD immediately contacted SDPD, per UPD protocol when reports involve off campus criminal incidents. SDPD confirmed with UPD that it had taken a report from the alleged victim and had initiated its own criminal investigation and requested – including through a formal letter later shared – that the university not take any action that could compromise SDPD’s investigation… as the university was formally asked on several occasions by SDPD not to initiate its own investigation, SDSU was unable to reach out to the alleged victim directly.”
As the investigation progressed, SDPD detectives asked the alleged victim to telephone the football players, who detectives had identified as possible suspects or witnesses, and the officers recorded the calls (so-called pretext calls).
“Most of them (during the phone calls) tried to tell me that it was my fault that I was at the party, that I wanted it, that I was going around to everyone telling them that I wanted to have sex,” according to the alleged victim, who denied those accounts.
Those recorded calls can be used as evidence as the teen and her civil attorney, Dan Gilleon, prepare to file a lawsuit.
“It's a lawsuit for sexual battery for causing damages to this young woman from sexual battery. It will be against the five men that who committed the sexual batteries. It will be against anybody else who was there that knew about it and should have protected my client,” Gilleon said. “Potentially, there would be liability against the school for failing to follow through with known risks to other people.”
“This young woman was trapped inside a room with five guys, and she was bloody when she came out, and she told everybody she was raped. So, I think that's pretty damning evidence. I think that the pretext calls where the guys either admitted to it or lied, that's pretty damning too,” Gilleon said.
More than nine months after the alleged assault, no arrests have been made.
A spokesperson for the San Diego County District Attorney said Thursday that the criminal case had not been turned over to their office.
In a statement to CBS 8, SDSU said it has now been given the green light by SDPD to initiate a Title IX investigation:
“On July 22, SDPD notified the university that it could now proceed with its own university process without compromising SDPD’s criminal investigation. The university is proceeding with its process, according to California State University systemwide policy, and additional details cannot be shared at this time. For more information about the university’s process, see the Interim CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation.”
Meanwhile, attorney Gilleon said SDPD needs to turn over witness statements, his client’s own statement, and DNA testing results.
“The police are absolutely keeping my client in the dark, against all law that requires them to actually keep her completely informed as to the status of her case,” Gilleon said.
"I want to know if they were able to find DNA. I want to know what they were able to conclude from the results of that test, especially if it is going to provide me with some more concrete evidence. I feel like I have every right to know that," the alleged victim told CBS 8.
The woman also had a message to other teens and SDSU students who party off campus.
"Unfortunately, I was alone and nobody was able to help me in the moment I was not able to help myself. Parties like this can be really dangerous, especially when you don't know who's going to be there and what they're capable of. I wish I was more aware of the danger I was getting myself into before I had shown up," she said.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details since it was first posted.
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