Saslaw Says He’s Pushing Hard to Pass His Campus Rape Bill

(Photo: News-Press)
(Photo: News-Press)

State Sen. Dick Saslaw, the veteran Senate Democratic leader in Richmond, brought the same fiery rhetoric against campus rape, and what he called the “cover up” policy at the University of Virginia, back to Falls Church Saturday after similar remarks in the wake of the first release of the Rolling Stone magazine article on the subject to the Falls Church City Council last month.

Saslaw, who has served in the state legislature since 1975, said he hopes his bill making it a crime for any university official who is informed of an alleged felony to fail to report it to police within 24 hours. The crime would bring with it up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Saslaw underscored his conviction that the “problem” of failing to report crimes to police is mainly experienced at the University of Virginia. “It seems to be the biggest problem at the University of Virginia,” he said. “William and Mary doesn’t have this problem. They’ve called in the police. But at U.Va., it has been 10 years and no sexual assaults have been reported from there to police. Their policy is to try to get the parties in such a conflict together to work it out, instead. Can you imagine ‘getting them together?,'” he exclaimed.

He noted that it was pointed out in supposedly unchallenged sections of the Rolling Stone article that the case of a student who had raped two women on campus was expelled but permitted to re-enroll and was graduated because university officials said they were afraid he would sue them otherwise.

He added, “I am sure that in the Yeardley Love case (involving a female U.Va. student killed in 2010), had she not died her case would never have come to light.” Saslaw added that his own daughter graduated from U.Va. in 1998, and she told him that “everyone knew the campus policy was to sweep things under the rug.”