Sexual assault charges were dropped July 26 against an Indian student at the University of Southern California, originally from Mumbai, who was accused of raping an intoxicated young woman in her dorm room, after video footage presented in court showed that the victim initiated contact.
Armaan Premjee, who is studying business administration at USC, was arrested April 11 on charges that he had sexually assaulted a female student – who is not being named – on the night of April 1. Premjee was charged with rape by use of drugs and also of sexual penetration with a foreign object. He was released the same day on bail of $100,000.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge viewed video footage from Banditos Taco and Tequila club near the USC campus, where Premjee and the woman made initial contact. The security camera footage shows the woman initiating contact with Premjee, and also shows her hand-signaling to a friend that she planned to have sex with Premjee.
A voice on the security camera footage suggests the alleged victim is also Indian.
Security camera footage from the victim’s dorm shows her and Premjee entering the building, and the woman swiping her access card.
The judge ruled there was strong evidence to believe the sex was consensual.
A room-mate found the two having sex in a common area of their dorm room. By that point, the alleged victim had passed out. She was later taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
Premjee left when the room-mate confronted him.
USC is continuing to investigate what it terms a “misconduct incident.” The university’s rules state that a person who is intoxicated is “not capable of giving valid, affirmative consent.” Affirmative or active consent is defined as a verbal “yes.”
In this case, the alleged victim was not capable of giving valid consent, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. In May, when the charges against Premjee were announced, prosecutors had recommended that bail be set at $1 million. If he was convicted of both charges, Premjee would have faced 10 years in state prison.
Premjee, a junior at USC, faces expulsion if he is found to be guilty of misconduct by USC. He told local media and The New York Times that the victim had initiated the encounter, and that he was glad to have video camera footage to prove that the unnamed woman had initiated contact with him.
“Without evidence, there’s no way to prove that consent did happen or didn’t happen. It’s just one person’s word against another,” Premjee told The New York Times.
The alleged victim told police she could not remember what had happened.