Former basketball players arrested for rape, questions raised

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Staff Writer


The July arrests of two former IU South Bend basketball players captured the attention of staff, students and the community alike. Now, questions are being raised surrounding the safety and security of campus.

Flip the calendar to the night of Feb. 18. It was the night Joseph Bannister, 21, and Phillip Corthen III, 19, allegedly raped an intoxicated, unconscious female student and documented the heinous act on Snapchat.

According to St. Joseph County court records, the victim and a group of friends, including Bannister and Corthen, attended two house parties before returning to Bannister’s apartment.

The victim walked into Bannister’s bedroom where she sat on a chair and took off her shoes, reassuring her female friend that she would be fine.

That friend had been talking with others in the living room of the apartment while the victim, Bannister, and Corthen were in the bedroom.

Official documents said a man in the living room received a Snapchat video from Bannister that depicted him having sex with the victim. A second video soon followed, this time depicting Corthen engaging in the same activity.

The female friend claimed she did not hear the victim objecting in the video, so she figured it was consensual. She left the apartment with the male subject for about 30 minutes. The friend returned to find the victim’s unconscious, limp body leaning against a wall, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The male subject and the friend carried the victim out of the apartment, took her home and placed her on the couch.

She woke up with bruises on her legs and claimed those marks were not present the night before. The victim said she did not remember giving consent to have sex after the 12 shots of liquor she reportedly consumed.

Both Bannister and Corthen admitted to having sex with the victim. Both men were dropped from the basketball team and kicked out of school. Their trial dates are scheduled for later this year.

But this is the question: Did you hear about it?

Did you have any warning that a sexual assault occurred on IUSB’s campus? A crime alert was not sent out to students. The Title IX Office implied there was no ongoing threat.

Checking in with the Clery reports published on the IUSB Police Department’s website, a total of six sexual assaults or offenses were reported on campus just last school year. Mostly taking place in the library and campus housing, ranging from rape to possession of child pornography.

Did you hear about any of those claims?

Your answer should be “no.”

If you were notified, you would have received an email from IU Notify. However, records indicate not one alert was sent regarding those incidents, leaving students in the dark.

When told about the lack of communication between the school and the student body, an IUSB junior who wished to remain anonymous, said she wishes the school would make that communication more of a priority. “We aren’t made aware of situations that could be prevented,” she said.

In cases like the one described above, preventing a potentially dangerous situation isn’t always as cut and dry as it may sound. The anonymous student went on to say that if you don’t try to prevent it, “the repercussions could be worse.”

It is the unexpected broken seal of trust with the university that has some students feeling weary about their safety and surroundings on campus.

The Title IX Office routinely looks into sexual offense allegations and said alerts are sent out at their discretion. “If this person was perceived to pose a danger to campus community, be it whether an individual, there’s going to be a notification,” said Marty McCampbell, director of diversity and affirmative action.

As the university looks into those claims quietly, those who attend the university remain unaware of the undisclosed safety concerns, creating questions faster than answers can be found.


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