Friday, February 21st, 1997

News on the Edmonds/Crawford Pre-Trial Hearing

On Thursday, a preliminary hearing was held in the rape case involving Brian Edmonds and James Crawford. Usually at these hearings, the prosecution presents evidence in an effort to convince the judge that there is sufficient cause to take the case to a grand jury to determine whether or not it will go to trial.

It is unusual for the defense to mount any sort of argument in these hearings, but the Edmonds/Crawford defense team called nearly 20 witnesses in an effort to prevent this case from going to a grand jury. The hearing went through dinner and on into the night.

Here is the testimony of the hearing, as detailed on the Fox 10:00 News Thursday night:

In nearly a half-hour of testimony, the 19-year-old alleged victim said that she consumed more than a bottle of wine that night and was "not thinking clearly." She maintains that Edmonds and Crawford tried to rape her following a party at their apartment, saying that Crawford entered a bedroom where she and Edmonds were, turned off the light, and pulled off her boots, stockings, and underwear. She said that Crawford then held her arms while Edmonds tried to rape her.

The alleged victim says that she screamed for her boyfriend, who was in the next apartment, to help her. He didn't hear her, and Edmonds's roommate, who was sleeping nearby, reports that he heard nothing. It wasn't made clear how, when, or why the alleged attack stopped.

The woman's boyfriend entered the apartment the next day to look for her clothes, and he testified that he found her boots, stockings, and underwear in the bathroom, not in the bedroom. Doctors who examined the woman the next day reported that they found no bruises or marks on her body.

That is all that was detailed on the news, and I've got to tell you, I hate talking about this kind of stuff on my web page.

The testimony was sufficient for the judge to certify the charges, and the case will now go before a Montgomery County Grand Jury in late April. The grand jury will decide if the evidence is enough for the case to go to trial.

Tech Set to Adopt Uniform Discipline for Athletes

On February 24th, Dave Braine will unveil a report detailing that the athletic department will adopt a uniform code of conduct and system of punishment for athletes in all sports. The report will cover recruiting, education, and sanctions if student athletes get into trouble. It will no longer be up to the coaches to hand out individual sanctions for individual cases. Rather, the procedures will be detailed as to what actions coaches should take in each situation, and what is expected of student-athletes from a behavioral standpoint.

In the report, which was compiled by a 12-person committee, a conclusion is drawn that The Roanoke Times called "startling," but which I call "no surprise at all." That conclusion, as Dave Braine puts it briefly, is this: "The number one problem is alcohol."

Well, duh.

Of almost 400 arrests among the Tech student population last year, 82 percent were alcohol-related. To anyone who attended college and partied with the rest of us, this is no surprise at all. In the original Tony Morrison/James Crawford/Christy Brzonkala case, alcohol was involved, as is true in the latest case involving Brian Edmonds and Crawford. To act surprised that alcohol is a major factor in these problems is to show your naivete.

Tech President Paul Torgersen asked Braine to start working on the report in mid-December, and Torgersen told Dave at the time that it "might be the most important thing he's done since he's been there." In other words, "Take this seriously, do it right, get to the root of the problem, and solve it."

Braine was quoted in The Roanoke Times as saying, "It's a shame that it had to come to this. Only four or five universities in the country have something like this. We are going to have to hold our student athletes to a higher code."

Indeed. It's also a shame that long after the horses escaped, Tech is finally shutting the barn door. But this, too, shall pass. It will take time, but the damage can be repaired. That's fine, just as long as what happened this last year-and-a-half is never forgotten, because when you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it.


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