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Loyola University Was Clueless Of Athlete Student's Rape Investigation & Guilty Plea

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 21, 2016 7:31PM

Loyola University / Facebook

How did Benjamin Holm go to class at Loyola University—and play with the school’s golf team—for three years, all while he was being investigated for rape in his native Atlanta area, entirely unbeknownst to university officials? Outraged students at the Catholic school continue to demand the answer to that question.

Ben Holm / Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
Then a high school senior, Holm, 21, was charged in May 2013 with rape. The month prior, he was spotted by three teens assaulting a 15-year-old at a country club while she called out for him to stop. Holm was nevertheless admitted by Loyola, reportedly on a golf scholarship. Even as Holm’s charges were increased to felonies, and, on Dec. 5, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and statutory rape, Loyola officials were apparently clueless of the matter.

A heavily shared, student-prompted petition on called out for answers from the administration. “For three years, rapist Ben Holm walked the Loyola University Chicago campus—and now that he has been convicted, Loyola University Chicago is silent,” the petition reads. “Students at Loyola University Chicago are disgusted by the institution’s actions and do not feel safe on campus—the administration’s silence is only making things worse.”

Loyola finally released a statement a week after Holm’s plea, in which Thomas Kelly, Senior Vice President for Administrative Services, said the university was made aware of Holm’s case and guilty plea only after a media inquiry following that plea.

"Violence of any kind is not tolerated at Loyola, and the safety and security of all members of our campus community remain a top priority,” Kelly said in the statement. “We understand this recent news has been difficult for many of you,” he added, then noted campuses resources for “gender-based violence.” (Communications representatives from Loyola did not immediately reply to Chicagoist's request for further comment.)

The statement was criticized as “generic” on the petition. “Let's work to make sure that people understand how rape culture is hurting college campuses and threatening the safety of survivors,” it added in an update.