LOGAN — A Utah State University student accused of raping a classmate on the campus lawn later wrote her an apology saying he knew she was intoxicated and could not consent at the time, prosecutors say.
Scott Raymond Simmons, 20, was charged Tuesday in 1st District Court with rape, a first-degree felony, and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
In an interview with campus police, Simmons allegedly compared himself to Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a campus dumpster.
"Both situations were very nonconsensual and both included alcohol, but the levels were different," Simmons told an officer, according to charging documents, adding that "he was worried that his one stupid mistake was going to ruin his life."
Simmons said he had come to realize that what happened was not consensual and that he felt badly about what he did, court documents state. He allegedly made the disclosures in an apology letter and in a separate interview with the officer.
In September 2015, Simmons met the then-18-year-old woman off campus at a fraternity party, police said. The two exchanged numbers and met up about 2:30 a.m. for a walk after she had gone back to her dorm and had drinks with friends, according to police.
The pair sat down to talk, and he started kissing her and trying to remove her clothes, sexually assaulting her even though she said she didn't want to do that, court documents state. He also allegedly told her she looked sober.
She "stated she was really drunk and Simmons kept taking her clothes off and she was scared and afraid that he would hurt her," USU Police Sgt. Jessica Vahsholtz wrote in the document. The woman told the investigator she didn't physically fight back, adding "she knew he was more powerful in that moment."
Simmons told Vahsholtz he asked the woman if he could have sex with her and encouraged her to allow it, the sergeant wrote, saying she replied "no" several times but that he initiated sex.
The woman said Simmons told her not to tell anyone because he was worried he wouldn't get into a fraternity, according to court documents.
Later, he wrote a letter to the alleged victim, Alison Berg, that said he would be forever sorry and "what happened was my fault. You were intoxicated and could not consent. I took advantage of you when I should not have," according to charging documents.
Berg, who published a story last year about receiving help from USU's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence office following the alleged rape, is currently an intern at the Deseret News.
"For such a long time, I let this ruin me. I let this define me," Berg said Thursday. "I don't want to be known as just another anonymous victim. I want other rape survivors to know that it's OK to come forward and tell their stories. I have chosen not to let this define me, but to let it strengthen me and become a part of who I am."
A USU spokesman confirmed that Simmons is enrolled at the university.
The college of 16,000 undergraduates has had a series of high-profile sexual assault cases in recent years. Former USU football star Torrey Green has been ordered to stand trial on allegations involving seven women.Comment on this story
In 2015, a former fraternity president at the school, Ryan Wray, pleaded guilty to a reduced felony charge of trying to sexually assault a woman while tasked with assisting inebriated women at a party.
The following year, former student Jason Relopez also pleaded guilty to reduced charges after police said he sexually assaulted two female USU students at his fraternity.
Utah State created a task force to address sexual violence in 2016 and is conducting a survey of student attitudes on the issue as part of the group's recommendations, university officials said.