In April of 2013, Benjamin Holm went to a high school party in a gated community outside of Atlanta. During the party, three teenagers found Holm caught in the act of assaulting their 15-year-old friend. Holm — who was 18 at the time — was hanging out at a dark playground with a girl when he pushed down her pants and got on top of her. According to police reports, Holm was eventually arrested and let go on a $3,500 bond.
Two weeks after the incident occurred, Holm graduated from John Creek High School and moved to Chicago, where he attended Loyola University to double major in economics and business, and play golf on a scholarship. Despite Holm’s record, the college claims that they never knew their student athlete faced a serious rape charge at home, nor did they know when his charge was changed to a felony. When he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and statutory rape on December 5, the university was still in the dark, despite the fact that he left the team around the same time he was indicted by a grand jury.
“To our knowledge, we neither received information about the crime, nor had any awareness that it occurred until Monday, December 12, when we received a media inquiry,” school officials wrote in a statement. “Based on media reports, the individual is in police custody in Georgia. The individual is not registered for classes in the Spring Semester.”
Holm, who is now 21 years old, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 on probation. Since news spread around campus, more than 1,200 people have signed a petition blasting the university’s decision to wait 11 days since Holm’s sentencing to announce the news to students.
“For three years, rapist Ben Holm walked the Loyola University Chicago campus — and now that he has been convicted, Loyola University Chicago is silent,” the petition reads. “Students at Loyola University Chicago are disgusted by the institution’s actions and do not feel safe on campus — the administration’s silence is only making things worse.”
The petition asks for university administrators to apologize for a “lack of transparency” in the case and for classes on sexual violence to be implemented in the school’s curriculum. Despite the students’ anger, one university official responded to the petition and stressed that Holm’s crime happened before his time at Loyola.
“To our knowledge, we neither received information about the crime, nor had any awareness that it occurred until Monday, December 12, when we received a media inquiry,” Thomas Kelly, Title IX coordinator and senior vice president for administrative services, said in a statement. “Based on media reports, the individual is in police custody in Georgia. The individual is not registered for classes in the spring semester.”
I find it hard to believe that the school had no idea about the student’s record… how is that even possible? The kid went three years as a normal student while the young girl presumably suffered. Is that fair? Is that right?
Tell us what you think in the comments below.
[H/T: The Cut]