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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  April 11, 2015 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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on twitter follow me @raysuarez news. i'm ray suarez. >> on "america tonight": sex crimes on campus. lessons learned after a groundbreaking year of reports. >> did you know that title 9 was something that could be applied, that universities could be held responsible under title 9 before this happened to you, before you saw oreport? >> i never heard of title 9. i was one of the people that thought oh it's never going to happen to me. >> "america tonight's" christof
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putzel on the falsely accused. >> they don't get the due process rights that many americans would expect to have occur. >> harsh crack downs, are universities going too far or not far enough? sex crimes on campus, "america tonight's" special report. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. it is a story that rocked and royaled, the university of virginia twice, and because up sexual assault on all campuses across the country. the rolling stone article did reignite the campaign on a continues continuing sex crimes on campus
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avoid sanction with federal watch dogs and deal with what is an increasing concern for students on any campus. it's friday night. homecoming weekend at the university of kansas. and the party's just getting started. >> whoa. everyone is just having so much fun, everyone is so drunk! >> "america tonight" was invited into the house party scene at ku where there was plenty of booze and no inhibitions. >> we drink and then we bring them home and we wake up the next morning and we take them out for breakfast and we move on with our day. party. this is rebecca, not her real name, a 21-year-old ku sophomore that says her whole world changed with the guy she met on
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campus raped her. >> we met a few weeks into school. we instantly had a connection. >> it was on another party night. she remembers that walking home was a struggle. embarrassing. she remembers he handed her one red solo cup after another. >> at the party i had at least eight beers. at least. and then i had a vodka cocktail, and a few shots of just straight vodka as well. >> as it so often does, the booze took over. alcohol fuels half of all sexual assaults on campus. >> i remember waking up, and he was kissing me. and then before i knew it, he was trying to have sex with me. and i tried push him off but i was so weak because of how intoxicated i was, it obviously wasn't effective. and i told him no and to stop
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and that i couldn't do this. >> the justice department estimates one in five women will be sexually assaulted in college. most don't have the courage to do what rebecca did. tell police. she's never been able to see the complete police report but in it, according to rebecca's lawyer who has seen its, the attacker admits having sex with her, long after she said no. >> he fully admitted to continuing to have sex with me after i said no. it is against the law. >> it is against the law to have sex with someone who cannot give consent. >> yes. >> the university officials found him responsible for the assault. to rebecca's surprise he was kicked out of his dorm but not out of school. >> what should the officials have done? >> i believe at a minimum, he should have been expelled.
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his presence put our daughter at risk and the community at risk. >> his punishment was no more than a slap on the wrist. >> it was not just that there was alcohol and a sexual assault, there was a confession to the sexual assault. that's staggering. >> a review of campus sex crimes at 130 cialg schools schools across the nation, even when they are culpable, told rebecca's family there just wasn't enough evidence to press charges. floored, the family sought out another avenue for justice. >> we began just to think you know, really, something needs to be done to remove this young man from this campus. >> they found it in the "america tonight" series, sex crimes on campus.
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>> we had seen al jazeera america's exposé last year about the title 9 cases and the young women who were coming forward and confronting their universities. it was very interesting because it was about ten days after this occurred. >> title 9 says schools that get federal money, protect their students from sexual assault and fully investigate abuse claims. >> did you know that be university institutions could be held responsible? the education department found rebecca's title 9 credible and is now investigating the university of kansas. in the year and a half since the first "america tonight" series aired, the number of title 9 complaints filed has more than tripled.
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right now 105 colleges and universities are under investigation. the education department identifies the schools under investigation, the list comes out each wednesday. >> we're here to talk today about an issue that is a priority for me. and that's ending campus sexual assault. >> and the obama administration continues to urge more talk about sex crimes on campus. >> this is on all of us. every one of us to fight campus sexual assault. >> since "america tonight's" series began, the white house launched a major initiative called, "it's on us." >> at kansas and with a video posted just last month, kansas has joined the national antiassault campaign, parts of a new conversation on campus. >> to hold our friends accountable for their actions. >> two states have taken a more direct approach, under
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california's yes means yes law students must get affirmative consents a clear yes before having sex. new york followed suit for its students at state institutions. being students won't be shamed student students won't be shamed into silence. >> all three of mirror uh my raperapists are on campus. >> dragging mass rests across campus, a weight they carry as survivors of campus sex assaults. students at scores of universities have joined in ongoing carry the weight protests, and more women have come forward seeking justice. sexual assaults are up 61% at
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2525of america's top ranked universities. >> these were just the beginning. it's part of a bigger conversation, on sexual assault across campuses. >> the d.a. in rebecca's case is reconsidering his decision not to prosecute. the conversation at ku might be starting to change but rebecca fears the campus can still be a dangerous place. do you think a lot of girls will go out on this homecoming weekend thinking they'll be going somewhere, and partying with guys they trust and it will be okay? >> yes, of course, reaps rapes are not always in backalies. it hatches with people you trust and which i don't think the general public realizes. >> awareness is growing. more students are coming before the federal agency which investigates title 9 claims a
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significant jump in the number of filings. in the last few months, 52 cases filed, putting the number of cases to double this year, but so far no university has ever faced the toughest sanction, for failing to protect students from sexual assault on its campus that would be the lost of federal funds. a view from charlottesville, as the universities of virginia became ground zero. the rolling stone story discredited. but does that mean there's not a problem? a growing backlash when male students say they are affected by the heavy hand of the university. >> there's now a presumption of guilt against the boy who has been accused of sexual assault. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel when the accused becomes the victim.
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and hot on marianna's website, bob jones university, why sex assault victims feel they were failed by faith in their leaders. when the story continues on "america tonight". >> unpredictable... uncontrollable... and under eighteen >> you have kids here who've killed someone. >> award winning journalist soledad o'brien takes us inside the violent world of kids behind bars... will a new experimental program be their last chance? >> i have to do my 100% best so i don't end up in a place like this again.. >> al jazeera america presents... kids behind bars: a soledad o'brien special report only on al jazeera america >> al jazeera america brings you a first hand look at the environmental issues, and new understanding of our changing world. >> it's the very beginning >> this was a storm of the
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decade >>...hurricane... >> we can save species... >> our special month long focus, fragile planet
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>> no nonsense new york city police commissioner william bratton >> they just respected this department >> restoring trust... >> it's going to be difficult... >> modernizing the force... >> this is going to be a revolutionary year >> protecting lives... >> the technologies we have available to us are phenomenal >> every sunday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping. inspiring. entertaining. talk to al jazeera. only on al jazeera america. >> in our fast forward segment the school at the forefront of sex crimes on campus, the
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university of virginia, although the story in rolling stone has been discredited, it's hard to leave that rape culture. christof putzel found a community struggling to establish that its community can be repaired. >> do you feel they were unfairly targeted? >> i think i.t. was unfairly targeted, it cannot describe every single person or even ofraction that are part of the system. >> reporter: initially, most students accepted the rolling stone article as true. >> if it's coming from a national organization you assume they go through enough dhoonls make sure that's true. >> andrew elliot is publisher of the cavalier daily. >> the first time i read the version online i was sitting in my astronomy lecture.
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not every single laptop screen had that image of that girl at the front of the fraternities house. >> third year student elizabeth ballew. >> oh no not again, students were saying things like, i know stories like this. i too have been assaulted or raped at a frat house. and while i was glad that all these things were coming out into the open so we could hopefully do something about it, again it was this thought of how could all of this have happened, we're we blind, was i blind? >> but there were some on campus who felt the administration trowshed wasmany. >> president sullivan's letter
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saying there would be no greek social activities until the new semester starts in 2015, suggested that she had accepted the charges as true. just shocked us. >> and it was surprising to see that almost nobody was willing to denounce the article when it came out just because of fear of being labeled a rapist or a supporter. >> reporter: in the weeks that followed, jackie's story began to fall apart. >> on my part there was definitely anger because there are people who would say that rape culture doesn't exist and all of this is being made up which is of course not true. but this does add fuel to the fire. i do feel that even if her story is not true, or parts of it are not true, that in no way neeg neeg add
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negativates the negatesthe fact. >> i hope there is a jury. i think it will have to come from the fraternity but at least the fraternity ought to sue. >> fast forward now fraternity accused in the retracted rolling stone piece now vows to pursue every legal avenue possible against magd which magazine which it calls reckless the frat frat peace, piece, afraid to being accuse. the dort of public opinion. >> don't eavesdrop on people'sk people'sks. did you hear about that josh strange guy, he raped a girl. >> next week on "america
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tonight", a three part series on voyages against young athletes sex crimes in sports next week on "america tonight". is >> monday - a climate emergency. >> those species could not be here in 10 years. >> nasa steps in to help protect the future of the planet. >> the tropics regulate our climate. >> techknow heads to costa rica to see how one rainforest is fighting back. >> wow! some of these are amazing. >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie, what can you tell me about my future? >> can affect and surprise us. >> don't try this at home. >> "techknow" - where technology meets humanity. monday, 6:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. >> part of al jazeera america's >> special month long evironmental focus fragile planet
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>> we've seen what happens tothe reputation he of schools and survivors after allegations of sex crimes on the campus. but what about the accused, most often young men, even if they're not guilty with more schools taking a harsher line, as they
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try protects women on campus many of the accused are fighting back. "america tonight's" christof putzel on a young man falsely accused. >> for allison strange it began with a phone call about her son josh. >> the phone call. there's always that one call that you never expect to get. it was a voice that wasn't josh. and he said josh has been arrested. >> and you didn't know why? >> no. i had no idea. i had no idea. i'm sorry, it all just really floods back. >> reporter: the campus of auburn university is where josh strange's college dream school turned into a nightmare. a former eagle scout josh dreamed of attending auburn university, since he was 12 years old. he pledged a fraternity and started dating a woman.
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they had been sleeping together when one night, they both went back to his apartment , after a night of heavy drinking and something went terribly wrong. >> she initiated and all of a sudden just midway through she just loses it. >> josh's girlfriend called the police who detained him for police. she said josh had forced him on her, he said she had initiated the sex. his accuser didn't follow through and she returned to his apartment and apologized for the misunderstanding. >> i was confused. she said it was nothing, i misunderstanding. i don't know what she meant by that but she kept apologizing and apologizing. >> why did you stay together after this type of accusation?
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>> at this point i didn't know there was really an accusation. it was my understanding everything, it was done and it was over. >> the couple continued to date and sleep together for another six weeks until their relationship started to fall apart. a month after they cut off communication josh was again arrested at his house. >> i was arrested for another charge she had made up. she claimed i had shown newspaper a parking lot of a frozen yoke utter place and slapped her in the face with a set of keys, and that's what i got arrested for. >> reporter: josh flat denies the charge. now misdemeanor and felony forcible sodomy. >> the rumor mill was churning and at one point i was standing in line at chick-fil-a and i don't eavesdrop, but suddenly i hear about did you hear about
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that josh strange guy? he raped a girl. at that point i got out of line and i left and went home. >> reporter: on november 7th, there was a hearing. josh and his accuser's lawyers were present but they weren't allowed to speak. >> so you're not really represented? >> no not at all. >> a university librarian presided offer the hearing. a tape recording of the hearing found had a while she found alleged perch perpetrator very credible. >> there was not cross-examination and josh chose to remain silent the entire hearing. after 99 minutes
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the discipline committee recommended that josh be expelled from auburn university. >> what was your reaction to josh's recommendation? >> i thought i was going to be sick. josh was as white as notebook paper and looked like he had been punched in the stomach. i walked.and i looked and josh said mom i'm gone. they don't want me anymore here. i can't stay. they've expelled me. >> reporter: since "america tonight" aired its sex crimes on campus series, men who have been disciplined or expelled have fired descrimghts ceases against brown, swathmore, bucknell, and others. 20 lawyers wrote a letter to the u.s. senate saying the implementation of title 9 has created an uneven playing field between the accused and the accuser.
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>> almost like a star chamber kind of experience. we are seasoned litigators who say this is not how you resolve a problem as substantial, severe as sexual assault and that stain stays on those boys' records the rest of their lives. >> eric rosenberg is a lawyer who has defended certainly students accused of sexual assault. >> these are felonies, very serious crimes. i don't think students or faculty are that educated, if these charges are firmed the one charged is go to prison. >> when the simple assault case went to trial the accuser didn't show up. however, josh was still expelled
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from auburn university. >> he was given this from the office of the president. he has a criminal no trespass order against him. he can't set foot on any auburn university property, i december for the rest of his life. >> the university declined our request for an interview, however,s: >> it is true that u.s. colleges are required by federal law, title 9 of the civility rights act to investigate all claims of sexual assault or lose federal funding. but campus hearings like josh's have caused concerns. yes means yes laws have fanned the fears. >> there is a change in the way
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sexual assault charges are being handled at campus. they don't get the due process rights that many americans would expect to have occur. >> despite the fact that a grand jury found no evidence to indict you, auburn university still chose to expel you. why? >> the explanation we just came one is just title 9 compliance. they had to have something to say that they're complying with this federal mandate to try keep the funding that they get. >> reporter: josh and his mother founded this advocacy group, called face, other mothers of sons who have been accused of sexual assault on college campuses. >> how in the world, without any evidence, without any witnesses, without anything, how in the
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world can someone's life be basically ruined? how is that possible on mere words? and that's what it felt like. they pulled the plug and we were swurlg swirling down drain. >> advocates are pushing for still more aggressive response. but allison and her son hope to remind people that there is another side to the story. christof putzel, al jazeera south carolina. >> her son finally found work but his decision to go public made this job search challenging. families advocating for campus equality has been contacted by a hundred families looking for help. that's "america tonight". tell us what you think at come back, we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow.
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>> much needed aid finally arrives in yemen where saudi led air strikes are targeting houthi fighters. hello you are watching al jazeera, i'm sammy zaidan. also coming up in the show, a new chapter of relations strained for over 50 years and a historic election in is nigeria.