A former Indiana University student who was charged with rape in in two separate cases was sentenced to one year probation after accepting a plea deal where both charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence, prosecutors said Monday.
John Enochs, 22, was charged with two counts of rape in September 2015 for two alleged incidents that occurred at fraternity events in 2015 and 2013. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said, he pleaded guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury and the rape charges were dismissed. The deal also stated that any jail time imposed would be suspended to probation.
Enochs spent one day in jail at the time of his arrest, the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney's office said.
Prosecutors explained the plea agreement Monday, saying that neither case "presented sufficient evidence to prove rape."
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, the prosecutor's office said that the case consisted of "a very unusual set of circumstances" because there were two unrelated accusations that were two years apart.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Enochs' attorney, Katharine Liell, said, "John Enochs did not rape anyone and he should never have been charged with these offenses."
Liell's statement said that "misconduct of the lead investigator who presented false and misleading evidence in her public probable cause affidavit — and failed to provide the Court with exculpatory evidence" led to Enochs being "charged with crimes he did not commit." (Prosecutors declined to comment on the misconduct allegation.)
The statement said that Enochs admitted to "conduct in one instance" that the court determined to be misdemeanor.
"He is profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment and has apologized for his conduct," the statement said. "Issues of alcohol and sexual misconduct are serious issues on college campuses across the country, but such issues are trivialized when law enforcement misrepresents the true facts and fails to investigate the allegations fully and fairly."
Enochs was charged last September after a woman alleged that he raped her in a room at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house during a party on April 11, 2015, IndyStar reported, citing court documents.
The woman reported that she and her friends were drinking at the fraternity when she left to find a bathroom, according to a probable cause affidavit. She then reported that she remembered being in a room with an unknown man who was having sex with her. The woman said she tried to push him off and told him no when she realized what was happening, the affidavit said. After her friends called the police, a rape exam was conducted on the woman.
Security footage from the fraternity house showed Enochs enter the room with the woman and showed her leaving 24 minutes later, Fox59 reported. She suffered a laceration to her genitals, according to medical officials. Enochs' DNA was also found on her, the affidavit said.
Another woman had told authorities that Enochs allegedly raped her in October 2013 but she did not press charges against him at the time. After hearing about the alleged assault in April, she helped investigators. The woman said that she was allegedly raped by Enochs in her residence before attending a Greek event off campus, the IndyStar reported. A friend of the woman told police that she saw someone she believed to be Enochs having sex with the woman who appeared to be passed out.
In their statement, Monday, the prosecutor's office said that in the 2013 case, the woman had "no specific recollection of the events" and that witnesses could not recall "important details due to the passage of time and consumption of alcohol."
The statement said that photographs "contradicted the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault."
"This is important because the complaint was that she was 'unaware' that the sex was occurring due to her consumption of alcohol," the prosecutor's office said, adding that her decision to prosecute two years after the alleged incident, "severely hindered the investigation."
There were "similar evidentiary problems" in the 2015 case, the prosecutor's office said. Referring to the security footage at the fraternity house, prosecutors said that the video evidence of Enochs and the woman entering the room, and the woman leaving the room, "does not support the assertion of forcible rape."
"There is also DNA evidence that is problematic, and made it impossible for us to prove that the defendant was the cause of her injury," the statement said.
Under the law, a jury considering one case would not be allowed to know about the other, the prosecutor's office said. "After the case(s) was filed, evidence continued to be developed that lead us to the conclusion that neither case, standing alone, presented sufficient evidence to prove rape."
"This turn of events was frustrating for us as prosecutors, due to the fact that there were two complaints against the defendant. That fact is the reason we continued to pursue accountability on his part which lead to this plea agreement," the statement said.
While Enochs entered a guilty plea to battery as a level 6 felony for the 2015 incident, the court decided to enter it as a misdemeanor, the prosecutors noted. Charges related to the 2013 incident were dropped.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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