On Monday, a former Baylor University fraternity president who was initially indicted on sexual assault charges accepted a plea bargain from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office on a lesser charge.
Jacob Anderson, 23, pleaded no contest on the charge of unlawful restraint, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The District Attorney's Office offered him three years of deferred adjudication, which is a form of probation but he won't have to register as a sex offender. He was also ordered to pay a $400 fine.
The attorney for the victim's family Vic Feazell said the victim was shocked by the terms of the plea agreement but the DAs Office said she was notified beforehand.
“This plea offer sends a bad message to the victims. Maybe they shouldn’t report it. Maybe they shouldn’t go through two years of waiting for a trial. Two years of therapy. Maybe they should be quiet about it because nothing is going to be done," Feazell said.
When first charged with sexual assault in March of 2016, Waco police said the victim was given some type of punch at a party in February, which made her become disoriented.
Anderson was accused of raping her and leaving her unconscious.
Anderson was indicted in May of 2016 on four counts of sexual assault. Each count is a felony in the second degree, which can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
On Oct. 11, 2018, superseding information was added to his court record for a charge of unlawful restraint. The document stated he intentionally intimidated and restrained victim, exposing her to substantial bodily injury by contacting her sexual organ.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna sent the following statement after the plea hearing:
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. 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. This office stands by the plea offered and believes we have achieved the best result possible with the evidence at hand.
Feazall said the case should be prosecuted even if the lab tests came back negative.
“Whether she was drugged or not, it doesn’t make any difference. It should have been prosecuted as a sexual assault. Drugging is not an element of sexual assault. It doesn’t have to be proved," Feazell said.
On Monday, 19th District Judge Ralph Strother ordered a pre-sentence investigation. At that time, he will decide whether to accept or reject Anderson's plea.
Anderson's sentencing is scheduled for December 10 at 8:30 a.m.
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