July/August 1999

UF/SFCC Campus National Organization for Women (NOW) and Gainesville NOW and others picket the Eighth Judicial Circuit dinner at the Sovereign restaurant in downtown Gainesville on June 17. Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth spoke at the dinner. Picketers handed out an open letter to State Attorney Rod Smith stating their objections to his handling of the Delta Chi rape case. The victim, Lisa Gier King, her mother and her grandmother all attended the picket. King accused Mike Yaraus and others in Delta Chi of sexually assaulting her and standing by watching while she was assaulted. But in a bizarre action, the police arrested her after viewing a tape of the incident, which was videotaped by participating fraternity members.

On the tape, the fraternity members repeatedly call the incident "rape" and at one point they joke that they're all going to jail. Apparently they underestimated the legal system's protection of alleged rapists. The tape also appears to show the fraternity members planning the alleged assault.

In an action that some say was aimed at punishing King for her refusal to back down, both Smith and Judge Chester Chance denied King's lawyer's requests to protect King's privacy, and Smith's office handed out free copies of the fraternity's video to the press and anyone who requested it. Later, a man offered it for sale via the internet. Smith is still pressing charges against King. The NOW chapters demand that the charges be dropped against King, that she receive an apology, that a proper investigation be conducted, and that charges be brought against the frat members who participated in what they say is a sexual assault that has so far gone unpunished. Pickets continue every Thursday from 4:30-5:30 at the State Attorney's office at 120 W. Univ. Ave. protesting Smith's handling of this case. For more information, call. 377-2301.

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