By Amanda Grisafi
The alleged rape case involving a former Rider student and seven state troopers has ended with an agreement between the officers and their employers allowing the troopers to return to work.
In December 2007, a 25-year-old female Rider undergraduate reported that seven off-duty state troopers raped her in a Ewing home after leaving the KatManDu night club in Trenton. The student reported the crime the morning after the event and criminal charges were filed. The case was later dropped without appearing before a grand jury.
In a statement issued through her lawyer, the student said, “I have been put through hell, and the seven molesting state troopers only got a slap on the wrist.”
After the initial charges, the state troopers were suspended with pay. A state police internal affairs investigation continued and in October 2009, the troopers’ pay was revoked when the investigation determined they had acted improperly. The troopers then sued, stating that their rights had been violated since they could not be regulated for what they called consensual sex.
There was a move to make the disciplinary hearings public. The state attorney general, Paula Dow, supported this motion, stating that the woman involved had been drinking and therefore, was in a state where she was “vulnerable to exploitation,” according to an article that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
However, the proceedings remained private. On April 4, The Trentonian reported that it declared the men will be allowed to return to work. The settlement between the troopers and their employer agrees to keep the men’s names undisclosed. They will return to work between mid-April and July. The six-to nine-month suspension without pay will serve as their punishment.
A professor who knows the student from one of her classes found the conclusion of the case disappointing.
“I think it’s horrible what happened to her and I wish something could be done to help her heal,” the professor said. “I don’t think the solution of simply having the troopers go back to work and no penalty and no help for her, I don’t think that’s a good resolution. It’s good from their point of view but not from her point of view.”
The professor said the student was due to graduate the following spring. WomanSpace contacted her professors about giving her extensions. Despite these efforts, she was unable to complete the work to graduate and has not returned to classes.
“In a more just and caring world, the seven police officers would have apologized to my student for causing her great and irreparable harm, and she would have been compensated for her college tuition,” the professor stated in a letter to the editor of The Times of Trenton.
Dow, who supported efforts to continue the investigation and make it public, told the Associated Press, “We think it was a good resolution to a very difficult situation. Separate offices reviewed it very carefully and found that they would not proceed with criminal sanctions.”