USC stu­dent’s rape case halted

Pros­e­cu­tors say judge de­cided they lacked enough ev­i­dence to pro­ceed to a trial.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Hai­ley Bran­son-Potts hai­ley.bran­son @la­ Twit­ter: @hai­ley­bran­son

A judge de­cides pros­e­cu­tors lacked enough ev­i­dence to pro­ceed to a trial.

Pros­e­cu­tors will no longer pur­sue a case against a USC stu­dent ac­cused of rap­ing a fel­low un­der­grad­u­ate af­ter a judge’s de­ci­sion that there was not enough ev­i­dence to send the case to trial, the Los An­ge­les County district at­tor­ney’s of­fice said Mon­day.

Charges will not be re­filed against 20-year-old Ar­maan Karim Prem­jee, who was ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 19-year-old stu­dent in her cam­pus dorm on April 1, said Shiara Dav­i­laMo­rales, a spokeswoman for the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice. Prem­jee’s pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing was held in Los An­ge­les Su­pe­rior Court last week.

Prem­jee was charged in May with rape by use of drugs and sex­ual pen­e­tra­tion by a for­eign ob­ject.

On Mon­day, Prem­jee’s at­tor­ney, Har­land Braun, said the judge tossed out the case af­ter the de­fense pre­sented video ev­i­dence that showed con­sent.

Braun said Prem­jee and the woman were at Ban­di­tos Tacos & Tequila, near the USC cam­pus, that night in April and that se­cu­rity footage showed them wait­ing for an Uber ride.

“There was a cam­era out­side that cap­tured the girl sig­nal­ing to her friend that she was go­ing to have in­ter­course with my client,” Braun said. The woman, he said, made mo­tions with her hands that in­di­cated sex­ual ac­tiv­ity.

“There could never be any bet­ter ev­i­dence of there be­ing con­sent,” Braun said. He added: “She was the ag­gres­sor.”

Prem­jee told The Times that he met the woman for the first time that night and that they had con­sen­sual sex. He said the woman made sex­u­ally-sug­ges­tive hand ges­tures to her friend twice be­hind his back.

“I’m very re­lieved,” he said of the judge’s de­ci­sion. “I’ve al­ways main­tained a lot of faith in the jus­tice sys­tem.”

Prem­jee said the pub­lic­ity of the case has been “very stress­ful” and that he plans to re­turn to USC in the fall. He will be en­ter­ing his ju­nior year and is study­ing busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, he said.

Pros­e­cu­tors had said the woman’s room­mate walked in dur­ing the al­leged at­tack.

“Prem­jee went into a bath­room and when he re­turned, the room­mate con­fronted him and he left,” the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice said in a state­ment in May, when the charges were an­nounced.

LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said the al­leged as­sault “was re­ported im­me­di­ately” to USC’s De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety early on the morn­ing of April 1.

Two weeks later, Prem­jee was ar­rested by of­fi­cers with the LAPD’s Rob­bery-Homi­cide Di­vi­sion. He was re­leased af­ter post­ing $100,000 bail, ac­cord­ing to jail records.

Univer­sity of­fi­cials said they could not con­firm whether USC was con­duct­ing its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“In­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to stu­dent dis­ci­plinary records and pro­ceed­ings or any mat­ter of stu­dent con­duct are con­fi­den­tial and pro­tected by fed­eral pri­vacy laws,” the univer­sity said in a state­ment.

Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

THE STU­DENT was ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a fel­low un­der­grad­u­ate in her cam­pus dorm April 1.


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