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After four women accused a Utah State University student of sex assaults, no charges and no apparent discipline

First Published      Last Updated Mar 28 2017 01:27 pm


Four women separately told police the same USU student had raped or sexually assaulted them in 2015; three of them also alerted USU.

The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name people suspected of a crime until they have been charged. Since this story was first published, Torrey Green has been charged with six counts of rape, as well as kidnapping and forcible sexual abuse, and this story has been updated to include his name.

Logan • In November 2015, Anna sat on a patterned couch at the Logan police station, tearfully telling Detective Kendall Olsen about the night she says she was raped by Utah State University student Torrey Green.

Green's name was not new to Olsen. Anna was the third woman in 2015 to sit on the same couch and report being sexually assaulted by the USU linebacker.




Before the month was up, one more would do the same.

The four women, who didn't know one another, told similar stories of aggressive flirtation that ended in sexual assault — Green just wouldn't take no for answer, they said.

Two of the women thought prosecutors would consider combining their allegations to make a stronger case, but police reports — provided in May through an open records request — indicate Green was never interviewed for one of those cases. Nor was he contacted during the police investigation of the fourth woman's accusation, according to the reports.

No charges were ever filed.

Three of the women were Utah State students and reported to their school. Under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, schools must take action if there is a potential continuing threat to students.

But it appears the university never fully investigated the allegations or sanctioned Green, who has graduated.

USU declined to discuss the student or its handling of the cases, citing the confidentiality of Title IX reports and counseling services. In a statement, spokesman Tim Vitale said the school uses "national best-practice procedures ... designed to allow the victims themselves to make decisions about how their cases will move forward while at the same time allowing them to receive university support in whatever way they choose."

Green remained on campus through the spring of 2016, leaving the women fearful and frustrated — at least two of them stopped taking classes on the Logan campus and moved away.

When universities have a credible report that a student has sexually abused multiple students, "that pattern of conduct should trigger an inquiry," Title IX mandates — even without a formal complaint from an alleged victim.

That requirement is essential because "studies show most acquaintance rapists have at least six victims, if not more," said S. Daniel Carter, board president of SurvJustice, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to survivors of sexual violence. "An institution has an obligation to respond using the information and means available to them."

The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name sexual assault victims.

In an interview, Green denied the allegations made by the four women who reported to police in 2015. However, he said not all reports against him were made in that year. He also said the school talked to him about one incident, which he did not specify.

Anna, who agreed to be identified by her first name, says she remains angry at the school and police for their lack of action and support.

"The most disturbing part of all of this is ... I don't feel like I have to go after my rapist to get justice for what he did to me," she said. "I feel like I have to go after the people who were supposed to get the justice for me."

'The kind of girl that would report rape'

Catherine immediately was put off by Green's forwardness when they met in January 2015 outside the Taggart Student Center on campus, she told The Tribune.

But, she said, she eventually gave him her number. And when Green said he was coming to pick her up, Catherine — who asked to be identified by a pseudonym — said she didn't feel she could say no.

They were watching TV at Green's apartment when, she said, he started pulling off her clothes. She fought, but she is 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, she said, so it wasn't difficult for the 6-foot-2 man to overpower her.

She kept telling him no, she said, and that she didn't want to have sex. He told her to be quiet and let him finish, she told police.

She recalled Green afterward twice saying: "You aren't the kind of girl that would report rape [are you]? Because that would ruin my career."

She viewed it as a threat and as a sign he knew what he did was wrong.

Catherine said she told her resident assistant, who sent her to the school's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (SAAVI) office, which provides confidential counseling. The woman she spoke to at SAAVI told her she could report either to the school's Title IX office or to police, but said she would have "more control" if she went to police, Catherine said. The woman told her the university "would take over [the investigation] and do whatever they wanted," she added.

SAAVI set up an interview between Catherine and Detective Olsen, who then arranged a recorded phone call with her and Green. Green, unaware the detective was listening, repeatedly told Catherine she never told him no.

Olsen then called Green to set up an interview, telling the student he was not in trouble and explaining he needed to get both sides of the story to write up a report. The detective recorded only his own voice during that conversation.

Because Olsen received the initial report from a third party, he told Green, "it makes me believe that it is not something really to worry about," he says. "It's not that she's accusing you of straight up rape."

Olsen did not record their later interview. But according to the detective's written report, Green said he had consensual sex with Catherine.

Green said he initially backed off, telling Catherine "he didn't want her to be the type of girl that claims rape when pressured" to have sex. She said she wasn't, Green told Olsen, so they had sex.

Olsen recorded an interview with a friend of Green's, who had driven the student to pick up Catherine but left quickly after dropping them at Green's apartment. The friend couldn't remember Catherine, but said Green was "actually a pretty good kid, he has a pretty decent heart."

"That's kind of what I feel," Olsen replied.

The friend said Green dated a lot of girls and some got upset when he moved on. Those girls "say harsh things and that's caused issues for him," the friend said. He "usually has proved himself out of them."

Catherine left school Feb. 1, 2015, about two weeks after reporting her rape to police.

Under Title IX, Utah State provides free, immediate services to students who've reported a sexual assault — access to counseling and deadline extensions for schoolwork, for example. The services can be put into place without an investigation being launched.

SAAVI told Catherine they would work with her professors, and sent letters to them explaining the situation. Her professors said they would help her try to catch up, but warned her that it would be tough, she said, and she decided to leave.

The school's Title IX office should have known about Catherine's reported rape. Resident assistants are required to report such accusations to the school's Title IX office — or to their supervisor, who would do the same — "when they receive or observe information in their working capacity," said Vitale, the university spokesman. Catherine said she had told the supervisor of her dormitory complex as well as the resident assistant.

Jenny Erazo, SAAVI office coordinator, said USU's Title IX office often holds off on investigating until law enforcement is done.

She said she talks to victims who come to SAVVI about their reporting options, but leaves the decision up to them. "If they're thinking about going to law enforcement, that's where they would make the report first," Erazo said.

Carter said it's "not appropriate at all" for Title IX staff to put their investigation on hold for an extended period of time while law enforcement is looking into an allegation. Title IX staff can defer to police for a few days, Carter said, but that "doesn't mean they do nothing. The key is that they cannot do nothing."

USU spokesman Vitale said that "in some cases, USU temporarily delays its investigation as we work with law enforcement," but noted that during any "brief delay, the university takes any steps necessary to protect victims and to offer support services."

After dropping out of USU, Catherine spent a year at home before enrolling in a different college.

Deputy Cache County Attorney Barbara Lachmar declined to file charges in April 2015.

But Catherine didn't know her case had been dropped until she spoke to Olsen on June 21, 2016, she said, to make sure talking to The Tribune wouldn't hurt the prosecution.

'Never do this to anyone else again'

Eleven months after Catherine accused him of rape, Green called Logan police in November 2015 fearing a second allegation might be lodged against him.

He told Detective Olsen that this time was different from the first.

"It's way less, I mean, there's no comparison to the case before," Green said in a recording of the call.

Green reached out to Olsen after receiving a call from Mary, who told him she was uncomfortable with what happened on their recent first date.

"I would really appreciate it if we talked in person instead of going this route because honestly I can't deal with that," Green told her on the phone, unaware Olsen was listening. "I have a career and I have a life and a family. I don't want my life to be ruined."

He swore to Mary he would "never do this to anyone else again."

The student then called Olsen and said he was "worried" about a possible new complaint.

Mary — who is identified by a pseudonym — had agreed to speak to law enforcement after going to USU's SAAVI office. Just as Catherine had earlier that year, Mary sat on the station's couch and told Olsen that Green had approached her outside Taggart.

She agreed to go on a date with him but made it clear nothing sexual would happen, she told police.

They went back to his apartment after dinner and watched the Disney movie "Hercules." They started kissing, to which she said she uncomfortably consented. Then, she said, Green tried to undress her even though she told him no and that she was menstruating.

She told Olsen that Green raised her leg above her head and rubbed her vaginal area through her jeans, lifted her shirt to access her breasts and made her touch his penis.

As she spoke to Olsen, she tearfully wondered what would have happened if she hadn't been on her period.

Erazo, from SAAVI, accompanied Mary to her interview with Olsen. She told Mary and Olsen that another female Utah State student had recently come to SAAVI saying she was raped by the same man. The woman also made an anonymous report to the university to put Green "on their radar," but was scared to report to police, Erazo said in the recorded interview.

At this point, the center was aware of at least three reports against Green.

Erazo told Olsen she wanted to see the student punished: "Put him in jail; let him rot in there."

Olsen asked Erazo to talk to the other woman about filing a formal report.

"A lot of times, if I have one victim it's difficult to make a case but if I have multiple victims, the county attorney is more willing to" move forward, Olsen said.

Olsen didn't mention that he already had another alleged victim, Catherine, who had reported in January.

When Green had reached out to him, Olsen had assured him that "we're not going to look back and look at your past because we already investigated that and that isn't going to play a role in this investigation."

During their subsequent interview about Mary's allegations, Green admitted to kissing Mary on the mouth and stomach and grabbing her butt, Olsen's police report states. Green apologized and said he "understood the no-sex rule meant no sex," but not that it applied to kissing as well, the report states. The interview was not recorded.

Olsen referred the case to prosecutor Lachmar, who declined to pursue criminal charges in January 2016.

In limited conversations with The Tribune, Mary said she also told the school's Title IX office about the incident, but later asked the school to stop investigating.

Still, Carter said, officials should have been aware of Catherine's report to dorm staff and flagged his name then in case another person reported him. After Mary's report, the school "should have, at that point, been on notice of two assaults alleged to have been by the same individual and they should have made responding to it a priority," Carter said.

Title IX mandates that universities investigate credible reports that a student has sexually abused multiple students, even without a formal complaint, he noted.

The federal law does not require most professional counselors to forward specific sexual assault reports to Title IX offices. However, citing the Clery Act — which concerns campus safety — Erazo told The Tribune this month that she would tell the Title IX office if a student was accused by multiple alleged victims.

When asked if she alerted the Title IX office that three women had reported sexual assaults by Green in 2015, Erazo said: "I don't know that I can answer questions about that."

USU, citing student privacy, denied an open-records request for communication involving the accused man. Logan police, asked for any communication from the department to school officials about Green, said none existed.

The Tribune tried to speak to Olsen, but was told questions had to go through Lt. Bret Randall. Randall never answered the 30 questions emailed to him in late June and last week referred The Tribune to Capt. Curtis Hooley for a response. Hooley could not be reached.

If police weren't communicating with the school, they "absolutely" should have been, Carter said, adding that though the two entities aren't legally obligated to communicate, "it's something that should be occurring in the interest of community safety."

In a statement, USU spokesman Vitale said school officials meet with Logan police about sexual assault issues and "have developed good communication channels between our staff and police." The school receives "reports of incidents involving our students when they are arrested or when charges are filed," Vitale said.

'It must have been wrong'

A few days after Mary walked Olsen through the details of her alleged sexual assault, Anna sat on the department's couch. As her dog slept beside her, she described being raped by Green months before, in June 2015.

The two had met on the dating app Tinder, she said, and she didn't feel like she could stop Green when he called days later at 2 a.m. to say he was coming over.

Detective Olsen asked Anna what she was wearing when the student arrived. He asked if she would do a photo lineup to make sure "someone else wasn't posing as" Green. Anna said the questions still infuriate her more than half a year later.

"I almost left when he asked me" those questions, she told The Tribune.

She said she knew exactly who had followed her into her bedroom, kissing and grabbing her, telling her she was "pretty" and trying to take her pants off. She repeatedly told him no. That's when, she said, Green shoved her to the floor, pinning her there as he ripped off her leggings.

She begged him to stop. She told him it hurt. He raped her anyway, she said.

"You like it," she recalls Green saying. "This is good for you."

In the recorded police interview in November, Anna describes her still-present terror of the man: She changed her phone number and moved back home to the Salt Lake City area.

"I don't think he thinks he did anything wrong," she told Olsen.

"What do you think?" Olsen asked.

"I think I still have nightmares about it. So it must have been wrong," she said.

It took her five months to report, she told The Tribune, because she didn't have any physical evidence — aside from a handprint-shaped bruise on her leg — and because a friend had warned her not to go to police. She eventually sought counseling and decided to report after Erazo told her about Mary's case.

She now wishes she never had.

After she talked with Olsen, he transferred her case to neighboring police department North Park, which had jurisdiction over the area where the alleged assault occurred. He set up a December appointment for her to speak to North Park police and do a photo lineup.

North Park police never interviewed Anna and never filed a report in her case. The department acknowledged that it first created a report in May after The Tribune requested one.

That report says Anna canceled the initial meeting and didn't show up to another. The North Park and Logan police reports indicate Green was never interviewed about her allegation.

Anna told The Tribune she canceled the meetings with North Park police because she was in the hospital — something not noted in the report — and called both Logan and North Park police multiple times afterward to set up new meetings. She said she never heard back from them.

North Park Police Detective Roger Jardine said Anna did inform police she was in the hospital and couldn't make the first meeting, but didn't show up for the second. He said he could not recall how many times he tried to contact Anna, but that it was "several times between Detective Olsen and I."

Jardine said he was told of the previous allegations against Green. But because the student had not been charged or convicted, Jardine said those cases did not spur him to make "a more strenuous effort" to get in contact with Anna.

Anna said the university brushed off her allegations against Green when she reported the rape to a school official.

She was told — by a woman in the Title IX office, she believes — that the school would be in touch with her about how to proceed. She never heard from anyone, she said.

A year after the alleged rape, nightmares still jolt her awake in the middle of the night. She suspects it's because she never got closure.

She remains a Utah State student, taking her classes online or at the university's Tooele campus.

But after reporting the alleged rape, she never returned to Logan. She felt she could never be safe in that city again, she said.

'Worried about being the only one'

In November 2015, people were enjoying drinks at a post-football game party at Green's apartment as Debbie tried desperately to unlock his bedroom door.

He pulled her away from the door and raped her, she told Olsen, only stopping when someone pounded on the door.

Debbie, who is identified by a pseudonym, was drinking that night and told Olsen she thought the entire incident lasted a couple of minutes. She said her friends at the party told her it was more like 40 minutes.

She went to a hospital, where a Logan police officer responded and wrote a summary of her allegations. His report said he referred the case to Olsen because he had "interviewed the suspect recently."

Debbie was not a Utah State student and didn't inform the school.

Olsen told Debbie that her drinking "didn't give him permission to take advantage of you," according to their recorded interview.

But, she said, Olsen didn't tell her other women had reported being raped by Green, even after she voiced concerns to him about being the first to report against him.

She had recently moved to Logan and feared being "labeled the girl in this town that cries rape," she said.

"It makes me mad that I was so worried about being the only one, when [Olsen] knew about the others but he didn't let me know," she said.

If Debbie had known, she said, she wouldn't have initially backed out of the investigation.

Her three friends who were at the party had pushed her to report, she said. But when the four of them got into an argument, her friends refused to talk to police, so she, too, decided to stop participating, she said.

Olsen last tried to contact Debbie, without success, in January, according to the police report.

Debbie didn't initially return that phone call, but said she later reached out to Olsen after Green showed up at her work.

"I decided I actually wanted to do something because I didn't want to live in fear," she told The Tribune.

Olsen never returned that call and she hasn't heard from him since, she said.

"The situation was hard as it was and I didn't like that I felt like I had to chase him down for him to do something about it," she added.

The police report does not say that officers contacted Green about her case. There is no indication in the report that the case was sent to prosecutors.

Assessing a pattern of conduct

Two days after The Tribune called in July for comment about the four cases, Deputy Cache County Attorney Lachmar asked Olsen to send her all the reports so she could review them.

Lachmar told The Tribune last week she had decided the best way to handle them was to look at them as a whole.

"I just decided instead of looking at the cases in isolation, I wanted to look at them in conjunction together ... to assess, as a whole, a pattern of conduct," Lachmar said.

She said she knew of all the cases before The Tribune called, though only the first two were referred to her, according to the police reports.

Though Lachmar had already decided not to file charges in two of the four cases, she said those two alleged victims could potentially be part of a case against the man, should she file one. Utah has no statute of limitations for rape cases, she added.

She said on July 11 she was waiting for Olsen to send her the reports. She thinks Olsen still is investigating one of the cases, she said, though the police reports requested in May indicate he hadn't attempted to correspond with any of the victims since January.

Friday evening, after this story was published online, USU tweeted that it was "looking closely at our policies and support services and will make any changes that will ensure the well-being of our students."

Vitale did not respond to queries Saturday about who is doing the review or would consider recommendations for changes.

astuckey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @alexdstuckey

 

AT A GLANCE

Where to get help

Anyone who has experienced a sexual assault can access free, confidential help, including health care. Advocates recommend that victims seek medical treatment even if they do not want to report to law enforcement. Trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners can offer free medication to prevent pregnancy and certain sexually transmitted diseases, and can stay with the victim to answer questions and assist with interactions with police and hospital staff. Forensic “Code R” rape examinations may be conducted up to seven days after an attack has occurred, and victims may have Code R exams even if they do not want to report to law enforcement.

In Cache County

Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse » Advocates are on call 24 hours a day to meet with victims, including assisting with forensic exams at local hospitals. CAPSA also has a 24-hour crisis line: 435-753-2500

In Salt Lake County

Rape Recovery Center » Victims who go to area hospitals may request a Code R examination. A specialized forensic nurse will arrive within 30 minutes. The Rape Recovery Center also has a 24-hour crisis line: 801-467-7273.

In Utah County

The Center for Women and Children in Crisis » Advocates can answer questions or accompany a victim to the hospital or to interviews with law enforcement. Victims can receive confidential information and support by calling 801-356-2511.

Brigham Young University Counseling and Psychological Services » It provides free, confidential counseling to BYU students. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to assist students in crisis and may be reached at 801-422-3035.


Who knew?

Utah State University has refused to release school communication about a student accused of sexually assaulting four women, saying that such email communication falls under FERPA, a federal law that protects education records. Based on police reports and accounts from the women, identified by first name or pseudonyms, here are where the allegations were reported.

Catherine » Reported in January to her dorm’s resident assistant and the dorm’s supervisor, who are both required to report sexual assaults to the Title IX office; USU’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence office (SAAVI); and Logan police.

Mary » Reported in November to Logan Police; SAAVI; the Title IX office. While she later asked the Title IX office not to pursue her case, the office can investigate and seek sanctions without a complaint from an alleged victim.

Anna » Reported in November to SAAVI; Logan police; and school officials. She can’t recall which specific official she contacted, but believes it may have been the Title IX office. Many other school officials must alert Title IX to sexual assault reports.

Debbie » Reported in November to Logan police; she was not a USU student.

All four women spoke with Detective Kendall Olsen. Deputy Cache County Attorney Barbara Lachmar declined to prosecute Catherine and Mary’s cases; it does not appear the other two cases were submitted for consideration. Lachmar says she was aware of all four cases, however, and plans to re-examine them.


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