Prosecutors seek to upgrade charges against four men accused of LSU student Madison Brooks’ rape

Authorities say Brooks, 19, was assaulted in a car before being dropped off on dark road where she was struck and killed by rideshare vehicle

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 26 January 2023 15:23 GMT
Related video: LSU student Madison Brooks worked at bar where she drank before attack: report

Prosecutors have vowed to upgrade the charges against the four men accused of raping Louisiana State University (LSU) student Madison Brooks.

On the evening of 14 January, Ms Brooks reportedly met the four men now facing rape charges at Reggie’s bar in Baton Rouge.

Authorities say Ms Brooks - who was visibly intoxicated - was sexually assaulted by the suspects in a car after leaving Reggie’s. The suspects then allegedly dropped her off along a dark stretch of road in the early hours of 15 January. She was struck by a rideshare vehicle and killed soon after.

Kaivon Deondre Washington, 18, and a 17-year-old male, unnamed because he’s a minor, have been charged with rape in the third degree. Mr Washington’s uncle Everette Lee, 28, and Casen Carver, 18, have been charged with principal to rape and were released on bond on Wednesday.

At a bond hearing, prosecutor Stuart Theriot said the prosecution will attempt to boost the charges against the suspects to first-degree rape. The prosecutor also indicated intent to convene a grand jury in the case.

During the hearing on Tuesday, a judge said that video footage filmed by one of the men, in addition to other evidence, proves that a crime took place.

It came after an attorney for two of the defendants, Mr Washington and the minor, argued that the video proved Brooks was able to consent and thus was not raped.

Judicial District Judge Brad Myers set Mr Washington’s bond at $150,000, while Mr Lee’s was set at $75,000 bond, and Mr Carver’s at $50,000 bond. The bond hearing for the 17-year-old has been scheduled to take place next month.

(Madison Brooks/Obituary )

Samantha Brennan spoke to Nola about the similarities between the case of Ms Brooks and her own 2016 experience, telling the local outlet that she had been drinking while underage at bars close to the campus when she met a man whom she then trusted to bring her home.

She awoke not remembering much of what had taken place but she had received a text from a football player at LSU saying that he had left his wallet at her place. About a week later, friends told her that a partially nude image of her was being shared among players on the football team. She reported it to the police.

“We were not an isolated year where all of this happened in 2016,” Ms Brennan told Nola. “It’s been happening and it’s continuing to happen.”

Mimi Methvin is a lawyer representing several women who sued the university in 2021 in connection to a graduate student from France alleged to have been a serial predator.

She told the local outlet that the focus on underage drinking “reinforced myths which protect rapists and blame women for their own assaults”.

“In the tragic case of Ms Brooks, the records show that her rapists saw her fall down in the bar multiple times and once in the car the first rapist asked her ‘five times’ for consent to have sex,” the attorney told Nola. “She was suffering from alcohol poisoning and they knew she was incapacitated, making her easy prey.”

LSU President William Tate said in a statement earlier this week that Ms Brooks “should not have been taken from us in this way,” adding that “what happened to her was evil, and our legal system will parcel out justice”.

He said that “our collective grief and outrage” must prompt action to be taken against underage drinking, The Advocate reported.

Mr Tate said he plans to convene area bars and businesses for a meeting “to discuss how their responsibilities directly impact the safety of our students”.

“We will work openly against any business that doesn’t join us in efforts toward creating a safer environment for our students,” he added. “Enough is enough.”

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