Student arrested in rape case that led to mass protest in Oklahoma

Student arrested in rape case that led to mass protest in Oklahoma
Police arrested on Tuesday a former Norman High School student charged with raping a fellow classmate. The sexual assault, and other rape accusations, spurred a mass walk-out at the Oklahoma school in November in support of the alleged victim.

Tristen Kole Killman-Hardin, 18, has been charged in Cleveland County District Court with two counts of first-degree rape of a 16-year-old victim who was unconscious at the time of the attack, police said, according to Reuters.

Two other girls have accused Killman-Hardin of rape, according to YES All Daughters, an activist group that organized the school demonstration.

More charges could be filed against Killman-Hardin, a prosecutor told local media.

Killman-Hardin’s attorney was not immediately available for comment to Reuters.

Killman-Hardin admitted to police that he had intercourse with the girl when he knew she was intoxicated, according to an affidavit from the Norman Police Department, which says it has audio and video evidence of the attack.

The victim told police the video of the attack was sent to her cell phone and appeared on social media. She reported the incident to Norman police after it took place in September, spawning an investigation into her claims.

On Nov. 24, around 1,000 students at Norman High School walked out of class to protest what they called a failure by school administrators to adequately protect three girls who have accused Killman-Hardin of rape.

One of the three girls said that the day she came back to school after her alleged rape, she was bullied by a group of students over the incident. She has not returned to the school since then, according to Reuters.

Prior to the November protest, Killman-Hardin, according to Norman High School officials, was suspended for the school year for cyberbullying. The school officials say they have cooperated with police during its investigation of the rape accusations.

Meanwhile, graphic allegations of rape on US college campuses at schools such as Columbia University have spurred a wave of protest and calls for action, including the possibility of reform of the fraternity systems.

Following accounts recently published by Rolling Stone of fraternity-led sexual assaults at the University of Virginia, the school suspended fraternity activities until the beginning of the spring semester while “groups of students, faculty, alumni, and other concerned parties ... discuss our next steps in preventing sexual assault and sexual violence,” wrote President Teresa A. Sullivan in a letter to students and alumni.

"The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities," Sullivan added.