by William Skink
I think a lot about accountability, like who experiences it and who doesn’t. Socio-economic status goes along way to either ensuring you are accountable for your actions, or not. Being a foreign national of a power ally also helps one elude accountability for little things, like rape and manslaughter.
Seven years ago this month a Saudi student attending classes at the University of Montana allegedly sexually assaulted two women in the same day. Here is how the Missoulian reported it:
A man accused of raping one University of Montana student and assaulting another earlier this month was contacted repeatedly by UM Dean of Students Charles Couture before fleeing the country.
After Couture informed the man – who was accompanied by his lawyer – that he was being accused of sexual assault under the university’s Student Code of Conduct, the man left the area, UM President Royce Engstrom said Friday.
In fact, the man – a Saudi national studying at UM – has left the country, Missoula Mayor John Engen said police told him earlier Friday.
The spin of this deplorable delayed reaction by University officials was not well received. Here’s more from the article:
Couture received the campus police report on Feb. 14, Engstrom said. He then wrote a letter to the alleged perpetrator, and also requested a written report from the victim, Engstrom said. On Feb. 17, he said, Couture received that victim’s report, and also learned of another assault – this one a rape – by the same perpetrator.
At that point, Couture called the alleged perpetrator and told him about the sexual assault report, Engstrom said. At the end of the day on Feb. 17 – a Friday before a long holiday weekend – the university sent a campus-wide email warning of “Sexual Assault … Possible Threat to Community.”
That was the first Missoula police heard of the incidents, Engstrom confirmed Friday. Missoula police quickly contacted university administrators, he said. However, a week had passed since the alleged attacks.
Apparently the behavior of this student is not an isolated event. In fact there have been so many similar situations of alleged crimes committed by Saudi students, and subsequent evasions of accountability, that legislation is being introduced in Oregon to hold Saudi Arabia accountable:
New legislation introduced by Oregon senators aims to punish Saudi Arabia following shocking allegations that the kingdom has whisked as many as five young men facing criminal charges, ranging from rape to murder, out of the country from that state alone.
Speaking publicly for the first time Thursday, the parents of Fallon Smart, a 15-year-old victim of a hit and run by Saudi student Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah in 2016, said they were horrified to learn their daughter’s alleged assailant had disappeared two weeks before his trial with the help of the Saudi government. Noorah was charged with manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, and reckless driving in the teen’s death. He faced a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
Federal investigators confirmed to the Oregonian/Oregon Live that a private lawyer hired by the Saudi consulate posted $100,000 of a $1 million bail for the 21-year-old and apparently arranged for a dark SUV to pick him up shortly after he left jail. His severed electronic bracelet was found at a nearby gravel yard. Authorities believe he was given a forged passport, since his was sequestered by Oregon authorities, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on a private jet. He was seen back in his home country a week after he disappeared.
I hope UM officials desperate to turn around the enrollment problem are paying attention.