Lawyer: UNC student making life difficult for accused attacker

Posted March 5, 2013
Updated March 6, 2013

— Repeated public comments by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student about an alleged rape are making campus life difficult for her former boyfriend, his attorney said Tuesday.

Sophomore Landen Gambill has spoken out since January about her case and was one of five women, including a former assistant dean, who have asked the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights to investigate what they call an atmosphere of sexual violence at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Gambill's case has gained increased notoriety since last week, when the student-run Honor Court accused her of violating the university's honor code by creating an intimidating environment for her accused attacker. If found guilty, she could be expelled.

Gambill has never publicly identified him, referring to him only as a long-time boyfriend. Charlotte attorney John Gresham said that and other information in her statements is enough for people on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus to know who he is.

"They had a significant number of mutual friends from time they were dating who knew his identity," Gresham said.

Gambill has said university leaders advised her to take the case to the Honor Court instead of to police. In a private proceeding, she says, the Honor Court found the man not guilty.

Gresham, pointing out that UNC-Chapel Hill removed sexual assault cases from the purview of the Honor Court in January 2012, said the case was heard by a University Hearings Board made up of two students, two faculty members and one administrator.

Regardless of the venue, Gresham and Gambill agree that his client was acquitted of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.

Charlotte attorney John Gresham UNC-CH cleared student of rape allegation, lawyer says While the case was investigated and heard, the man was suspended from school, Gresham said. After he was readmitted to school in December, Gambill went public with her story as a sexual assault survivor, which he said made it impossible for his client to remain anonymous on campus.

"If she wanted to deal with the process, that's one thing," he said, "but after the University Hearing Board acquitted him unanimously, you can imagine what it must be like to be characterized as a rapist over and over again."

The student switched classes so he wouldn't be near Gambill, and he visits public places only when accompanied by a friend because he has been threatened with violence, the attorney said. He eventually felt he had to file the Honor Court complaint.

"He wants to be able to complete his education," Gresham said. "He doesn't see that, having been acquitted, he should not be afforded that opportunity fully."

Gambill, who couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment, has said the honor code violations are the university's way of retaliating against her for speaking out.

Students have rallied behind her in recent days, calling on UNC-Chapel Hill to adopt new policies for handling sex assault cases, expand resources for alleged victims and require more training of administrators.

She said she still might file criminal charges but has held off because she felt victimized by the campus process.


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  • blackyce Mar 7, 2013

    There is no statute of limitations on rape cases. If she wants to accuse the kid of rape she should go to the police and attempt to have him arrested. As it is, she's simply opening herself up for a slander suit.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 7, 2013

    "I dont think you can arrest someone with no evidence." - superman

    A magistrate can swear out a warrant of arrest based on whatever the complainer tells them, evidence or not. At least they can on some crimes.

  • iknowjack Mar 7, 2013

    I see this fine attorney's point. Some big guy with a mohawk named Tat should be making this rapist's life hellish, not the victim.

  • YourMom Mar 6, 2013

    He said/she said. No one knows for certain except the two of them. This is a lesson for rape victims (both male and female) GO DIRECTLY TO THE ER AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN RAPED! No shower, No sleeping it off, No thinking about what to do next. Go to the ER to have a rape kit performed and they will call the police so you can report the crime.
    One of these two is guilty of something: either rape or libel. At this point, unless one of them admits to one of these or more solid facts come to light, noone else will KNOW what happened. Some of these comments are sad reflections of our society.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 6, 2013

    "How about RAPING SOMEONE created a frickin intimidating environment for him? This is ridiculous, absolutely disgusting."

    itisallacharade, That's because he didn't do it, according to Chapel Hill police. What's disgusting is your rush to judgement.

  • JAT Mar 6, 2013

    I would like proof that she went to the police department and they told her they were not going to investigate a rape case, proof or not. I have NEVER seen a police department do this. Did she go to the hospital, as you would think 99% of victims do? How long after they supposedly broke up did this supposed rape occur? Too much is not adding up here.

    If she wasn't willing to press charges, she should shut up about it and let him live his life.

  • bill0 Mar 6, 2013

    "Why did local police not investigate it should be the bigger question."

    Because she didn't go to police. She went to the university and chose to go through their disciplinary procedures. And just for the record, the university suspended him immediately based only on the allegation. The university can actually do a lot more immediate stuff than the police - like reassign him out of the dorms, suspend him, and remove him from campus. The police are basically limited to restraining orders, but they generally can't force someone to move or keep them from going to their classes or jobs.

    Obviously, the university can't send someone to jail, but they do have more leeway than police in a lot of matters and they have a much lower standard of proof required of them.

  • barbstillkickin Mar 6, 2013

    The cops can not arrest him because she has no evidence now. It is a shame this young woman is being put through all this by her rapist and the college is doing nothing. I know where my grandkids are going to school and it will not be UNC. This college should step in and expel this boy for raping this girl. NO MEANS NO

  • kornfan2448 Mar 6, 2013

    "couldn't she go the police even today and say he raped her on "x" date and they arrest him?"

    She could and the article says: "she still might file criminal charges but has held off because she felt victimized by the campus process." Obviously the feeling of being victimized by the "campus process" outweighs the feeling of being victimized by her alleged sexual assault.

  • Squirreling Dervish Mar 6, 2013


    Can you cite that source?