- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A former Haskell Indian Nations University student originally charged with raping a fellow student will serve 60 days in county jail and two years of probation after a plea deal that drew strong objections from his accuser and her family.

Jared Wheeler, 21, was sentenced Friday after pleading no contest in November to aggravated battery, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (https://bit.ly/2jr57eI ). A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for the purposes of sentencing.

Wheeler originally faced two counts of rape and one count of aggravated battery. He stood trial last summer, but it ended in a mistrial.

Wheeler and Galen Satoe were charged with raping the woman when she was 19 in November 2014. Both were expelled. Satoe’s trial also ended in a hung jury and he is awaiting a second trial on two counts of rape and one count of aiding and abetting attempted rape. The two men said the sex with the woman was consensual.

Before Wheeler was sentenced Friday, his accuser told Douglas County District Court Judge Paula Martin that she still struggles with the assault but has begun to heal and has returned to college. Her parents also said they disagree with Wheeler’s single felony conviction.

“I still believe he should have gotten more than what was given to him,” the woman said. “It’s too light. It’s not enough.”

Wheeler told Martin that he has learned important lessons.

“This whole case has affected my life, and I think that I’ve taken … positive steps,” he said. “And it’s motivated me even more than I have been motivated in my life because it’s more of a wake-up call to me.”

Martin said she was disappointed by Wheeler’s statement, noting he didn’t mention how the case affected the woman’s life.

“She said all she wanted in the beginning was an apology, and two years later she still doesn’t have it,” Martin said. “Your comments left much to be desired as far as showing any remorse for what brought you into this courtroom today.”

Martin noted that the 60-day jail sentence was the maximum she could impose.

The woman has sued Haskell, contending school administrators treated her unfairly and eventually expelled her without due process after she reported being raped by the two men.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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