Prosecutors are under fire after a former Indiana University student accused of raping two women was allowed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge.
They claim they wanted to throw the book at him — but just didn't have enough evidence to convict 22-year-old John Enochs.
Enochs, who had been accused of sexually assaulting two women at frat parties in 2013 and 2015, was charged with two counts of rape. But the judge knocked the charges down to a single misdemeanor and Enochs was placed on probation for a year after serving just one day in jail.
“This case presented a very unusual set of circumstances in that we had two unrelated accusations two years apart,” chief deputy Monroe County prosecutor Bob Miller wrote in a statement obtained Monday by NBC News. “Neither case, standing alone, presented sufficient evidence to prove rape.”
The Enochs case has outraged some rape victim advocates and drawn comparisons to that of Brock Turner, a former Stanford student who was sentenced to just six months in jail after he was convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a campus frat party.
“The turn of events was frustrating for us as prosecutors, due to the fact that there were two complaints against the defendant,” Miller wrote. “That fact is the reason we continued to pursue accountability on his part which lead to this plea agreement.”
Enochs was accused of raping one woman on April 11, 2015, at the Delta Tau Delta house. She told police she had been drinking and passed out, and when she woke up a stranger was raping her. There was surveillance video of Enochs leading her to a room and his DNA matched the samples taken from the woman after her rape exam.
Enochs’ second accuser reported that she had been raped while she was passed out on October 12, 2013, at the same frat house but initially decided not to press charges against him. But when she heard about the 2015 rape accusation, the woman came forward.
“In the older case, the complaining witness had no specific recollection of the events,” Miller wrote. “The few witnesses could not recall important details due to the passage of time and the consumption of alcohol.”
Also, Miller wrote, “the complaining witness’s decision to prosecute came two years after the event which severely hindered the investigation.”
“There were also photographs that contradicted the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the sexual assault,” Miller wrote.
The most recent case “had similar evidentiary problem,” Miller wrote. “In that case there is video evidence of activities of the complaining witness, before and after the alleged assault, which does not support the assertion of a forcible rape.”
Enochs, who is from the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. His lawyer, Katharine Liell, told the Indianapolis Star that Enochs was caught up in the “histrionics” surrounding campus rape.
“I totally believe John has been caught up in a whirlwind of emotion surrounding any allegation involving sexual assault on campus,” Liell said.
Both of Enochs' alleged victims are suing Indiana University and the fraternity, NBC affiliate WTHR reported.