Prosecutors say ‘very unusual’ circumstances led to plea deal in rape cases against former IU student

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office admitted it was frustrated after a former IU student charged in two rape cases ended up spending one day in jail.

John Enochs will serve one year of probation after pleading guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury as part of a plea agreement. Two rape charges against him were dismissed.

The most recent incident happened in April 2015. According to court documents, a woman told police she’d been raped at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house but didn’t know her alleged attacker. She said she repeatedly told him to stop, but he held her down. Eventually she was able to leave the room and get away.

Security video showed Enochs entering the room with the victim. She left 24 minutes later; health officials said she suffered a laceration to her genitals.

While that case was under investigation, police found a similar alleged rape from 2013. The woman involved in that case agreed to help investigators. DNA evidence and witness statements led them to Enochs.

4 Fast Facts

  • Two rape charges dropped against former IU student
  • John Enochs pleaded guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury
  • He spent a day in jail and will get one year of probation
  • Prosecutors said there were evidence problems in both cases

In a statement Monday, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office said the case presented a “very unusual” set of circumstances; law prevented a jury in either case from learning about the other allegation if the cases went to trial.

Prosecutors also said there were “evidentiary” problems with both cases. In the oldest allegation, the one from 2013, witnesses couldn’t recall some important details because so much time had passed and they’d been drinking. Photographs also existed that contradicted “the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault.”

In the more recent case, prosecutors said DNA evidence was problematic; prosecutors also said video before and after the alleged assault did “not support the assertion of a forcible rape.” They said that made it impossible for them to prove that Enochs caused the woman’s injury.

“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 led to this plea agreement,” Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Miller wrote in a statement.

Miller said Enochs originally pleaded guilty to a felony; the battery charge was reduced to a misdemeanor at the court’s discretion.

Here’s the full statement from the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office:

This case presented a very unusual set of circumstances in that we had two unrelated accusations, two years apart. That was an important consideration in our initial decision to charge. However, under the law, a jury considering one case would not be allowed to know about the other. 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.

In the older case, the complaining witness had no specific recollection of the events; the few witnesses could not recall important details due to the passage of time and the consumption of alcohol; and the complaining witness’s decision to prosecute came two years after the event which severely hindered the investigation. There were also photographs that 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. Indiana law has a provision in the rape statute that makes this charge available to prosecutors.

The more recent case had similar evidentiary problems. In that case there is video evidence of activities of the complaining witness, before and after the alleged assault, which does not support the assertion of a forcible rape, which was the charge in this instance. 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.

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 led to this plea agreement. It should be noted that he entered a plea of guilty to Battery as a Level 6 Felony. The decision to enter it as a misdemeanor was within the Court’s discretion.

Katharine Liell, who represented Encochs in the case, said Encochs was charged with crimes he didn't commit. Liell pointed out that prosecutors dismissed both rape charges and blamed the lead investigators for presenting "false and misleading evidence" in the probable cause affidvait charging Encochs with rape.

Liell called the charges "sensationalized and false," adding that Enochs did indeed admit to a misdemeanor. Liell said he was "profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment."

As the Monroe County prosecutors' office has acknowledged through their voluntary dismissal of the rape charges, John Enochs did not rape anyone and he should never have been charged with these offenses.

Rather, due to the 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---John Enochs was charged with crimes he did not commit.

After John Enochs presented evidence to demonstrate his innocence of the sensationalized and false charges, the prosecutor's office, on their own motion, dismissed both rape charges.

John Enochs did admit to conduct in one instance that the Court found to be a misdemeanor. He is profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment and has apologized for his conduct.

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.

Enoch’s plea deal is receiving national media attention, following the mild sentence handed out to a former Stanford student, who was convicted of raping an unconscious woman on campus in 2015.

The victim associated with the 2015 rape case against Enochs has filed a Title IX lawsuit against both IU and the Delta Tao Delta Fraternity, claiming both ignored the 2013 rape case associated with Enochs which led to her assault two years later.

Indiana University is aware of the public attention over the court’s adjudication involving John Enochs, who is no longer a student at the university nor a graduate of IU, and has received a number of inquiries requesting comment on the case.

IU released this statement regarding the suit:

As result of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), designed to protect the educational records of students, Indiana University is not able to publicly comment on individual student misconduct cases, including the final disposition of those cases. Additionally, it would be inappropriate for the university to comment on the outcome of a criminal judicial proceeding to which it is not a party.

As it relates to sexual misconduct, however, the university continues to utilize robust processes that are designed to support victims, while at the same time affording due process to those accused of misconduct. In instances where a student is found responsible for committing an act of sexual violence, the penalty is suspension or expulsion.

Additionally, the university regularly engages in a broad range of educational communication and programming to students, faculty and staff regarding sexual assault. The university’s goals are both to prevent sexual assault whenever possible and to support the victims to the fullest extent possible.

For more information on the university’s programs and policies related to sexual misconduct go to http://www.stopsexualviolence.iu.edu

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