Unsealed documents shed light on assault case

Documents unsealed by a R.I. Superior Court judge last week reveal new details about a case between a Providence College student and the two Brown undergraduates that she alleges sexually assaulted her last fall.

Judge Alice Gibney allowed the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office to release dozens of pages of police and court records Thursday after news organizations requested that they be unsealed.
Gibney denied the motion to keep sealed the court documents by John Grasso, a lawyer representing one of the Brown undergraduates.

The Providence Police launched a criminal investigation in the spring, and the Brown students — then first-years — were asked by the University to leave campus around finals time. But a grand jury decided in late August not to indict the two students.

One of the two Brown students, both of whom played for the football team, is no longer a student at Brown, while the other is still at Brown but no longer appears on the roster. A third student who was implicated in some documents but not investigated by the police also remains a student at Brown.

According to a Feb. 13 incident report that is among the newly released documents, the PC student told police that her body fell limp after one shot of vodka when she was out with her friends at Louie’s Bar on the night of Nov. 21, 2013. She said she was carried into a taxi by a Brown student she was friends with and woke up with him in a Brown dorm room after having non-consensual sex, during which she said his friend and possibly another Brown undergraduate photographed them, according to the incident report and court documents. She was then forced to perform oral sex on another Brown undergraduate, she said.

In the incident report, the PC student said she later went to Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Providence Journal reported that she went to the hospital the following Saturday when she went home for Thanksgiving break and her mother noticed bruises on her knees.

After she got back to her dorm room, the PC student said she called a friend who attends Fairfield University, the Journal reported.

Among the unsealed documents are witness statements, including one by the Fairfield student, who explained that the PC student was “an emotional mess” in the aftermath of the alleged incident.

The documents also include statements from two people who arrived at the bar with the PC student but left separately. They both said she had one or two drinks before leaving for the bar.

Some discrepancies remain. The documents include statements from those who saw the PC student on her way back to her dorm, including someone who found her in East Andrews, looking “out of place and confused” and “wearing clothes that were not her own,” and then took her to a bus stop on Thayer Street. The Journal reported that this was a custodian. But NBC 10 reported that the PC student walked to Kennedy Plaza and took a bus from there.

Many witnesses said the plaintiff was wearing black shorts and a black t-shirt Nov. 22 on her way back to PC, according to the records. A black March Madness t-shirt and black basketball shorts were included as evidence in the February police filings.

But the records also include some witness statements contradicting the PC student’s narrative of the night. “At no point was anyone holding this girl up,” one witness statement says, according to NBC 10.
“At no point did anyone force her into the cab or … to go anywhere,” it reads. “She was walking towards the Brown University dorm on her own.”

The Journal reported that two witness statements from friends of the Brown students also offered differing recollections of the night. One said he left Louie’s with the PC student around midnight and saw her walking on her own to the dorm after being “friendly” and talkative in the taxi.

Police filed an incident report on Feb. 13 — the same day the PC student filed for a temporary restraining order, which she requested because she said she feared retribution from friends of the Brown students who attended PC.

The newly public documents don’t explain why police did not file a report when the PC student and her mother went to the Providence Police Department around Nov. 23, though she was referred to an advocate from Day One, an organization that provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, the Journal reported.

Records that were presented over the summer to the grand jury that declined to indict the two Brown undergraduates cannot be released to the public, said Amy Kempe, public information officer for the Attorney General’s office. As a result, the office withheld cellphone records of the two Brown students and an explicit naked photo of the PC student, the Journal reported.