What’s next in the JSU statutory rape cases? Legal expert weighs in

Updated: Sep. 26, 2019 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re still asking questions about what could be next in the investigation into the statutory rape cases on or near the Jacksonville State University campus.

It comes after the attorney for one of the 10 men charged told us his client is the real victim and feels the alleged victim should face charges. We asked a legal expert about that possibility.

Thursday, Attorney Bill Broome who represents one of the men charged with statutory rape in the JSU investigation had strong words for the 15-year-old alleged victim.

"You got a 15-year-old female predator who is on social media - Tinder, Facebook - representing herself in glamour shots, we’ll call them, to be a 19-year-old. This is just wrong to label these young men as rapists and potentially have to register as sex offenders,” Broome said.

Broome says the 15-year-old portrayed herself as a 19-year-old on social media. Broome says the girl claimed she was a transfer student from the University of Wisconsin. He feels his client is the real victim and believes the 15-year-old should face charges.

"The fact that she lied about her age on Tinder on Facebook is of no consequence,” Attorney Roger Appell said.

Roger Appell says giving consent in a statutory rape case is not a defense. He says knowledge is not a defense. He says the incident either happened or it didn’t happen.

"All the prosecution has to prove is that the victim was under the age of 16 and the defendant was two years or more older than the victim and that they had sexual intercourse,” Appell said.

Appell tells us the girl could be charged with forgery or identity theft for the alleged fake ID and social media profiles, but he says the likelihood of that is very slim given her age. As far as getting the charges dropped against the men, Appell says it’s a possibility. It’s all up to the prosecutor.

Broome tells us the 15-year-old knew class schedules and instructors’ names when she told the men what time she was getting out of class. The only thing law enforcement has said about these cases is that they were not forcible rape.

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