Rosen Joins Former De Anza Students to Press for Reopening Rape Case

In an unannounced but unsurprising appearance before the Hall of Justice in San Jose today, Deputy District Attorney Jeff Rosen stood with Lauren Chief Elk to denounce what they said was a bad decision by the DA’s office not to test evidence recovered in the 2007 De Anza rape case.

Chief Elk was one of three female soccer players who reportedly pulled an intoxicated 17-year-old “Jane Doe” from a room at a party attended by members of the De Anza College baseball team, where she was allegedly being gang raped. They were joined today by other rape victims.

“I’m here with Jeff Rosen and these incredible women to say, it’s not too late,” said Chief Elk. “We demand the evidence be tested and also to say it’s not too late for some kind of justice.”

The press conference followed a May 16 Mercury News article that quoted deposition testimony from crime lab supervisor Lynne Burley in a civil suit filed by the victim. Burley testified that she was “informed by the district attorney’s office that no further testing was needed.”

According to the article, a hospital sheet, a comforter and clothing are among the untested articles. “Ms. Carr considers the case closed. I do not,” Rosen said. “When I’m elected district attorney, we will carefully and thoroughly review the case, examine and test all of the evidence, and decide whether to file charges.”

Spokespeople for the DA’s office have insisted that the case was thoroughly investigated, and that all evidence was tested. After announcing that the office would not press charges, a separate investigation by Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office reached the same conclusion in 2008.

The press conference participants were also far more forgiving of Sheriff Laurie Smith, whom they lauded as supportive. Another article appeared in the Merc last week indicating that sheriff’s deputies did not investigate the crime scene until 23 hours after the attack was reported. That story reported from internal documents that disciplinary action was attempted on a sergeant for failing to do his duties during the investigation, but that the matter was dropped.

Retired Lt. Pedro Contreras, who worked the case the afternoon after the report, told the paper he was outraged by the pace of the investigation and had to ask his supervisor repeatedly to send detectives to the crime scene. Smith, who is also up for re-election next week, admitted by statement that “in retrospect, there are some things that could have been handled differently,” but insisted the investigation was thorough.

Some reporters wondered aloud at the timing of the conference, two weeks after the appearance of the first Merc article about the evidence but one week before the June 8 election day. Chief Elk’s attorney Jim Hammer verified that he is a Rosen supporter, but that the timing of the press conference was due to his and Chief Elk’s schedule.

“They invited me to come and I’m here,” Rosen said afterward. “I have to be careful because I can’t say whether or not I would file charges, but I will consider and test all the evidence. Whether the case is provable or not, I will find out.”

16 Comments

  1. So tomorrow, DA Carr will issue a press release saying ” I can’t say whether or not I would file charges, but I will consider and test all the evidence. Whether the case is provable or not, I will find out.”  again,  if Sheriff’s office does screw up again

    Sheriff Smith’s incompetent deputies did not investigate for 23 hours after crime and were surprised the evidence was gone and baseball team “lawyer up “

    ” Chief Elk’s attorney Jim Hammer verified that he is a Rosen supporter, but that the timing of the press conference was due to his and Chief Elk’s schedule. ”

    If you believe that you will believe anything politicians and their supporters tell you to get elected

    Can we write in:  N O Above ( None of Above ) for DA’s and Sheriff’s elections ?

  2. “They invited me to come and I’m here,” Rosen said afterward. “I have to be careful because I can’t say whether or not I would file charges, but I will consider and test all the evidence. Whether the case is provable or not, I will find out.”

    I see Rosen is taking advantage of yet another victim of a violent crime. I guess he thinks he can win the election by pretending to be a super hero. I can’t wait to see him wearing egg on his face when his investigation comes to the same conclusion that the investigation by Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office reached in 2008. Sad what lengths this guy will go through to win, and whom he’ll use to do it.

    • The victim that we should all be concerned about is the young woman who was raped.

      The DA made her decision and now we as voters get to decide if we think she did her job and made a good decision.  I don’t.

      • So sad Kathleen,
        Yes it is sad. It is sad to think that a candidate wants to win an election so badly that he is holding out false hope of a conviction to an innocent rape victim who needs closure. This young woman deserves to feel safe, and vindicated. The law is what it is, and the Sheriff’s investigation was done so badly that this young woman will NOT get justice because the evidence needed was NOT properly collected, nor were witnesses properly deposed or interviewed in a timely manner. That is an outrage. It should be reason enough to vote in a NEW Sheriff. And it is a good enough reason NOT to vote for Rosen because even he knows the case is NOT winnable. Instead of explaining the LAW and the facts to you lay people, he is using this case to come off as a superhero. He really should be ashamed!

        I agree 100% with your statement, “The DA made her decision and now we as voters get to decide if we think she did her job and made a good decision.” I will be voting for DA Carr because she followed the LAW. She doesn’t get to follow her heart; otherwise these rapists would be in jail until time stands still.

  3. Why does Chief Elk have a lawyer?  Has she filed a lawsuit?  If so, what are her damages?  If she hasn’t filed a lawsuit, why does she need a lawyer at a press conference? I’m surprised she didn’t get Gloria Allred.

    It is difficult to second guess DA Carr when the Attorney General’s Office came to the same conclusion—the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    There is little doubt that in a perfect world all items should have been tested.  However, the identities of the men involved is not the prime question.  As soon as they lawyered up, the participants claimed the sex was consensual.  Clearly a bogus claim, but testing other items for DNA does not involve the issue of consent.

    As I understand it, the items not tested were not items from the rape kit—bodily fluids that could be analyzed for DNA, which could help establish which of the men had sex with the victim and cleared others.  The items not tested were objects found in the bedroom.

    Sadly, the victim in this matter has been unable to make positive IDs, nor have Chief Elk and her two friends been able to clearly identify perpetrators versus onlookers. The victim allegedly made inconsistent statements to investigators, as well. That being the case even the civil case filed by the victim will be difficult to prove.  The much higher burden of proof for criminal liability seems beyond reach.

    This is a very sad case indeed; and it seems doubtful that justice will ever be done for this victim, even if Mr. Rosen wins and reopens the case.

    • JMO,
      Very well said. Lest we not forget that statements given by victims under the influence is also a tough nut to crack. No defense attorney worth his or her salt would allow that horse to be left to be unbeaten.

      Rape cases are brutal enough on the victim. If you think this poor young lady is hurting now, imagine what would happen if a very well paid defense attorney got their hands on her in a court of law. It bares thinking about the pain they’d subject her to given the way this case has already been handled.

      She and her family are in my thoughts and prayers. My heart goes out to them.

      • “If you think this poor young lady is hurting now, imagine what would happen if a very well paid defense attorney got their hands on her in a court of law.”

        The fact that the victim is willing to sue her attackers in civil court indicates she is not afraid of the defense attorneys. It is also an indication that she demands that justice be done, with or without the cooperation of the District Attorney.

        Let’s hope the civil courts do the job that the Sheriff and DA failed to do. Neither deserves re-election.

  4. Jeff Rosen must be intelligent & informed enough to understand that, doubtless due in large part to the screw-ups made by Laurie Smith’s Sheriff’s Department, there simply isn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute this case.  It does appear (although its not certain) that some young men may be getting away with rape, and if so, that’s quite unfortunate, but its also reality that you can’t prosecute a case without sufficient evidence.  You can’t just send a group of young men to prison because it kinda seems like they might be guilty.  As Mr. Rosen is certainly aware (even if most Santa Clara County voters are probably not), state Attorney General Jerry Brown already reviewed D.A. Carr’s decision in this matter, and ruled that she made the correct & appropriate decision.  Yet Rosen has shown the sort of person he is, by trying to use this perhaps tragic case in order to advance his prospective political career.  A real class act.

    This one bit of gross incompetence, with respect to the Sheriff’s Department investigation of the De Anza rape case, would be forgivable…IF Laurie Smith had otherwise shown some reason, over the course of the last twelve years, why she should get to be Sheriff for another four.  Alas, she has shown us no such reasons.

    Carr & Calderon on Tuesday!

    • Perhaps.

      Or charge them all, rapists and onlookers alike, with conspiracy to commit rape.

      Then push each of them to roll over on the perpetrators.  They’re probably not career criminals and could be pressured rather easily.  One might roll in exchange for immunity.

    • For statutory rape, the prosecution needs to prove that the perpetrator did not reasonably believe the victim was 18.  Can you prove that in this case?  Did the 17 year old girl tell everybody she was 17?  Or was she too drunk to do that?  Can you tell the difference between a 17 year old and 18 year old just by looking, if you don’t know them personally?  No, you can’t prove statutory rape on this case either.

  5. It is refreshing to see most bloggers get it!!! The standard in court is “Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”. Could you imagine if people could be tried in court on a gut feeling. You think the courts and jails are too full now? I respect D.A. Carr for making an unpopular (but correct) decision not to try these suspects. To Deputy D.A. Rosen, you need to either go back to law school or are just grandstanding the issue at the victim’s expense. I don’t like either scenario!!

  6. I am recalling a rape as a very young boy 1st grade. After school there were a circle of guys perhaps 3 deep and the rapist was a guy named Delano. I felt a sence of helplessnes for this poor girl. I felt the same for myself as I passed on my way home.
      I am feeling the same feeling today. All this bullshit being slung about evidence and the courts not being able to prove guilt.
      There is a Delano here. The guy still lives.  The circle of guys are still there.
      What about the girl and her protectors. I am sickened by all of the spectators and shamen that have all the answers that do not bring the DeAnza baseball players to the point of admission. The system failed . Now we are left to carry what those cowardly punks will not. Delano must be put away, along with his spectators once and for all. Who is there to right this wrong.
            Gil Hernandez / The Village Black Smith

  7. Who is there to right the wrong? My last post!See above!
      I have been carring this Rape for 62 years. I am feeling new and proud for this man Rosen. Tomorrow I will share my joy with my daughters, I have 5 wonderful daughters.
      There is no place for nepotisum or that good old boys politics that governed in the past. Rosen deliverd what had been promised to us as SUNSHINE just a few years ago. Even Smith prevailed over the mayors pick.
      I was in Cleveland this week end and learned of the discusting politictics that compromised the Police Auditors Office. Hipocrits with a purpose. Yet all the while the police were busting folks down town. So let’s now follow the money. I’m sorry folks , it was discusting to see it in the news. We were being raped and no one was there to help. The time has come to flush,
      I have been at the wrong end of this 50s politics most of my business life 28 years in San Jose The ugly core group at the Mexican Heritage Corp, and then at the hands of the Mayor’s office at the San Jose Arena.
    Rosen is our champion. He talks as we do and he is what every city needs in this country.
      Most of us are so busy jumping from rock to rock, just to stay ahead of the banksters importing their house payment from China.
      Slum lords and rouge cops haven’t a prayer . With Rosen and LaDoris at the helm.
      Changing the demographics in a city by the shear force of politics, has always been met with the breakdown of the trust and leaving an empty core to invite graft and corruption.
      Perhaps now Nora Compos will do something for the lead poisoned babies of district 5. She will be tested. Manny Diaz did Zero. Here again the Rosen Factor applies.
            Gil Hernandez / The Village Black Smith