CORVALLIS, Ore. – The president of Oregon State University has apologized to a woman who alleged in 1998 that she was raped at a party by four men, including two university football players.
The woman, Brenda Tracy, hadn't been named publicly until recently, when she told her story to Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano (http://bit.ly/1t4TFOW).
The four men were arrested in 1998, but prosecutors didn't press charges because Tracy decided not to participate in the case. Tracy told Canzano she now wishes she had.
Oregon State President Ed Ray said in a statement Monday that he'd ordered a review of the university's response and asked his staff to examine the police reports to see if there are actions the school can take now.
"I personally apologize to Ms. Tracy for any failure on our part in 1998 in not helping her through this terrible ordeal," he said.
He said it was appalling that the criminal justice system has time limits on prosecutions — known as statutes of limitations — in sexual assault cases. "There is no statute of limitations on compassion or basic human decency," he said.
Tracy told the Oregonian that she had decided in 1998 to go through with a rape examination and then to commit suicide because "I was already dead."
But the kindness of the nurse who did the rape examination got her through and inspired her also to become a nurse, she said.
She said she had come forward 16 years later because she remained haunted by the words of Oregon State coach Mike Riley, who said two players had made "a bad choice."
Riley told Canzano he regrets those words, and proposed that Tracy talk to his football team about her experience. Tracy told Canzano she's not interested in retribution, or a lawsuit, and would welcome the chance to speak to the team, or any group interested in hearing her story.
"Maybe that's where this was supposed to go all along," she said.