Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer
Judge Ralph Strother accepted former Baylor fraternity president Jacob Walter Anderson’s plea to the lesser charge of unlawful restraint this morning at the McLennan County Courthouse. However, it was not a typical day in the courthouse, as Strother spoke about the outrage around the case and the victim was allowed to speak afterwards.
“I have a few things to say. Normally I do not do that, but not much about this case is normal,” Strother said. “There’s a lot of intensive interest around this case fueled by the engine of social media.”
Strother said that although he does not participate in social media, he’s aware of what is generally being said on the platforms Facebook and Twitter. Strother commended the investigators for the thoroughness of their investigation.
“I have been provided material from every perspective,” Strother said. “I have as good of information as possible from all perspectives of the matter. Being human, I can make wrong decisions. However, I cannot be uncertain about the decisions that I make.”
According to Strother, the comments on social media — particularly toward the District Attorney’s office — though well-intended, fall into three categories: Not fully informed, misinformed or totally uninformed.
Anderson will not be registered as a sex offender. Though there is DNA and medical evidence of rape according to court records, the charge Anderson has plead guilty to is not a rape charge and he will serve no jail time.
As soon as Strother announced his acceptance of the deal, sobbing could be heard from the front row.
As a witness in the case, the victim was allowed to give comments after the judge accepted the plea deal.
When the victim composed herself and took the stand, she addressed the judge: “I am devastated by the decision to let Jacob Walter Anderson go free without punishment. Rape is a violent crime … He stole things from me and I will never be the same.”
Two women filed a plea of outrage, which 80,000 people signed, and which the victim thanked them for. The victim said she wanted a trial and was willing to put herself on the stand.
The victim went on to describe the disturbing details of the night, chronicling the repeated acts. According to the victim, she was drugged, taken to a secluded area, choked, restrained and repeatedly raped, then eventually left face-down in the dirt.
“He most likely will rape again and no one will know he is a sex offender, emboldened by his power over women and his ability to go free,” the victim said.
The victim said she would have loved to go back to Baylor and learn from her professors, laugh with her friends and walk the stage at graduation. Instead, she described the constant anxiety she lives with, fearful of men who may just want to be her friend.
“Jacob Walter Anderson, it must be horrible to be you,” the victim said. “You stole my life and my virginity.”
Anderson left the courtroom shortly after concluding statements.