“The person I am today is not the same person you raped,” Rachel Wilson told her alleged assailant on Friday from the stand at the Isabella County courthouse in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
“I am forever changed.”
Wilson and Landrea Blackmore, former students at Central Michigan University, have said they were sexually assaulted by Ian Elliott, the ex-president of the school’s student government association.
Elliott was sentenced Friday to a minimum of one year and one day in prison and a maximum of 14 years, the result of a no-contest plea deal he made with prosecutors in June. Though Elliott initially faced two different trials on multiple charges for the two alleged sexual assaults, his plea deal included just one count of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree.
A no-contest plea, unlike a guilty plea, is an acceptance of the court’s punishment without an admission of guilt. But Elliott’s plea agreement reportedly stipulates that he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Wilson told Central Michigan University’s student newspaper that, after three years of fighting for justice, the plea deal felt to her like “a huge success.”
Wilson has said that Elliott assaulted her after she was drugged in August 2016 when she was a first-year graduate student. Wilson reported that she had only two drinks at a bar with Elliott before he brought her to his house, where she began vomiting “so violently it hurt.” Then Elliott asked her for sex. She has said that she rejected him but that she was too weak to push him off while he raped her.
Days later, according to texts she provided to the student paper, Elliott wrote her “I’m so sorry,” then “I honestly thought you were serious when you said you want to have sex,” and “This could ruin my life.”
“I awoke to the sharp smell of vomit, in a room I didn’t recognize, with a man I didn’t know leering in the doorway,” Wilson said on the stand Friday. “You preyed on someone much stronger and fiercer than you; someone with the perseverance and resiliency to be relentless in the fight for justice.”
Wilson reported the alleged assault to the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, which concluded an investigation into the matter in December 2016. Throughout the probe, Wilson maintained that the sex was consensual.
Despite his denials, the Office of Student Conduct expelled Elliott, according to Central Michigan Life.
“Today, Ian, you continue to demonstrate the cowardice you’ve shown from the moment you raped me,” Wilson said on Friday.
“My aim today is to make up for the integrity, character, and courage you lack by making it clear that I don’t need to hear you admit to guilt,” she continued.
“This was the fight of my life and I won,” Wilson said. “I am tired, but I am proud of myself.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose office led the prosecution of Elliott, lauded both Wilson and Blackmore on Friday for their bravery.
“It is never easy for victims of sexual assault to speak out, report their crimes, and face their attacker,” said Nessel. “Ian Elliott used his position to take advantage of these young women and continued to rally his supporters in an effort to shame his victims. They stood strong and I am grateful for their persistence.”
A witness in the courtroom told The Daily Beast that Elliott remained expressionless throughout the victim-impact statements.
Blackmore’s case was dismissed as part of the plea agreement, but the deal enabled her to read her victim impact statement on Friday as well. Blackmore has said that Elliott forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Phi Kappa Tau fraternity party in November 2014, the student paper reported.
Blackmore said on the stand that she initially considered Elliott a “mentor” and that she’s “disgusted at the potential that he’s wasted.” She detailed her friendship with Elliott, the assault, and the nightmares she’s had since that night.
“I truly hope you make your peace with God because you will have to answer to these things you’ve done,” she concluded.