Trial awaits two students

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Suspects in two UA-related sexual assault cases have been indicted, and one has been arraigned.

Peter Michael James, 19, an undeclared sophomore, was indicted by a grand jury Jan. 13 and will be the first to be prosecuted for "date rape" on the University of Arizona campus in 10 years. He will appear in Pima County Superior Court March 7.

James was arraigned yesterday in Pima County Court and has been charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student on Nov. 5. The rape allegedly occurred at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, where he is a member.

In a similar case, a suspect accused of sexually assaulting a female student Nov. 1 was indicted yesterday on one count of sexual assault by the grand jury.

UA police said they received a true bill, the equivalent to an indictment, yesterday for the suspect, whose name will not be released until he is formerly served with a summons.

An indictment means the case can now be brought to trial.

Police said the suspect's attorney will most likely meet with the Pima County prosecutor to arrange a time when he will turn himself in.

Kathleen Mayer, supervisor of the county attorney's sex crimes unit, did not return phone calls made to her office yesterday.

UA Police Chief Harry Hueston said he is happy with the indictments.

"I'm not saying that this is a trend but we are very encouraged by the two cases we have," Hueston said. "I'm excited about this. Maybe 10 years from now prosecuting these cases will become a trend."

According to UA police Sgt. Brian Seastone, the victim in the James case told police she left a football game Nov. 5 and returned to the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house with James, whom she had met a few days before. At the house she said she went up to James' bedroom and he locked the door.

She reported he then began forcibly kissing her and physically forced her to have sex with him even though she told him she was drunk and didn't want to do anything.

The victim reported the incident Nov. 7.

An arraignment to set the pretrial conference date is held after a grand jury hands down an indictment. At the predrill conference the defendant appears before a Superior Court judge and a trial date is set or a plea bargain offered.

Dean of Students Melissa Vito said she believes maybe something positive can come out of these indictments.

"I think at a minimum this will make at least some members of the community sit up and take notice," Vito said. "I think it's making students think back onto previous behaviors and maybe question them."

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