I was dismayed to read your April 12 article indicating that Dominic Jones had won ("Former Gophers player Jones acquitted of rape charge"). In fact, the jury found that Jones had committed a "humiliating and demeaning" felony sexual assault on a young woman who was vulnerable and unable to protect herself.
Minnesota statutes nowhere include the word rape -- our system asks for investigators, prosecutors and juries to determine if there was penetration (what we usually think of as rape) or contact. What distinguishes third degree (the original charge) from fourth degree (the charge he is guilty of) is only the specific type of contact the defendant had with the victim. It does not deny the contact or the force used. So Jones is guilty of a felony crime, will be required to submit DNA for the state data bank and be required to register as a predatory offender.
Stories like the testimony of this young woman are heard over and over in advocacy programs across the state. The Minnesota Department of Health released the results of a study last year indicating the costs of sexual violence in Minnesota to be over $8 billion in 2005. This is three times larger than the cost related to alcohol-impaired driving and should serve to compel us to demand that our state work to prevent sexual violence and commit to sufficient funding for our network of advocacy programs.
Thank you to Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum for sealing the cell phone video evidence from this trial. There is no justifiable reason the documentation of the humiliating and demeaning assault on this young woman needs to be shared with the public.
DONNA DUNN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
MINNESOTA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, ST. PAUL