Sex charges against 2 UA students tossed

They were accused of assault during party at frat house
2012-06-21T00:00:00Z 2014-09-05T15:28:40Z Sex charges against 2 UA students tossedKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The case against two University of Arizona students accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student at a campus fraternity house has been dismissed.

The Pima County Attorney's Office asked Judge Christopher Browning to dismiss the case because there was a "significant chance" Ellery Shane Gordon and Gregory William Haft would have been acquitted at trial, said Kellie Johnson, chief criminal deputy county attorney.

"We discussed the obstacles with the victim and the decision was made not to go forward," Johnson said.

Gordon, 21, and Haft, 19, were indicted in February on two counts each of sexual abuse and one count each of sexual assault and kidnapping.

A woman told university police she was at a Feb. 5 party at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house, 1449 N. Cherry Ave., when Haft told her there was another party upstairs, according to court records. Once she went upstairs, the woman said, Haft and Gordon locked her in a bedroom, forcefully removed her clothing, inappropriately touched her and made her perform a sex act on both of them.

A resident of the house repeatedly knocked on the door during the incident, the woman told police, and the men grabbed her arms whenever she tried to pull away.

Rick Lougee, who represents Haft along with co-counsel Dan Cooper, sent a letter to the County Attorney's Office in April outlining why he believed the case should be dismissed.

According to the letter, the bedroom door could not be locked from the inside and multiple witnesses gave statements to police indicating the event was consensual.

In an email to the Star, Lougee wrote: "The general policy of the press in not printing the names of accusers in rape cases proven to be fabricated along with the policy of the prosecutors in not charging them with false reporting encourages false reporting. The reputations of the boys in question have been irreparably sullied; the accuser moves on with her life with no consequences."

Johnson said there was no basis to charge the alleged victim with false reporting.

Lougee said his client intends to return to school and try to move beyond the allegations.

Gordon's attorney, Skip Donau, said, "I'm glad the county attorney took the time to properly evaluate the case, and in the end justice was served."

Gordon, of California, is listed in UA records as an undergraduate studying biology in the College of Science.

Haft, of New York, is listed as a prenursing undergraduate in the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science.

Both were Pi Kappa Phi members at the time of the incident but were expelled from the fraternity in the wake of the allegations.

Both men posted bonds of $50,000 shortly after their arrest and received permission from Browning to spend the summer in their home states.

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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