Authorities decline to file charges in alleged 'Real World: San Diego' rape case
By Reality TV World staff, 07/26/2004
The San Diego County District Attorney's office has announced that after an eight month investigation, they will not file charges regarding a November 2003 allegation that a woman was raped in The Real World: San Diego's house.
According to a District Attorney's office decision released late last week, there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution. "The case was rejected from our office, and there was not sufficient evidence," Paul Levikow, a spokesman for the District Attorney, told E! Online. "That could change if more evidence came forward in the future and we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was a crime."
Despite the issuance of a search warrant that resulted in the seizure of bedding, guest logs, computers, and numerous hours of raw video footage recorded by the program's Bunim-Murray production company, no arrests were ever made regarding the incident. Bunim-Murray also failed to address the incident during The Real World: San Diego's recently completed season.
According to the alleged victim, an unidentified 22-year old woman not affiliated with the show's cast, she met a man named Justin, a friend of castmember Randy who was staying at the house, at a downtown San Diego nightclub on the evening of November 14. Having already consumed several mixed drinks before meeting Justin, the woman reported that Justin offered to buy her another drink, and the next thing she remembered was waking up at 10:30 AM in the guest bedroom of the Real World house.
When she woke up, she was clothed and an MTV camera crew was filming her. Her vagina was sore, and a female castmember Jamie Chung told her that she may have been sexually assaulted in the bathroom during the night. (For reasons of personal privacy, although MTV has cameras located throughout the Real World house that film 24/7, there are no cameras in the bathrooms.)
When police contacted Jamie, she told them that she arrived home in the morning of November 15 and found the young woman lying on the bamboo couch in the living room. She asked the other people there what had happened. According to Jamie, one of the people said that the young woman had been lying naked on the bathroom floor as Justin emerged, saying "I just hit that." That person had then moved the woman to the couch. Jamie and another person then moved her to the downstairs guest bedroom.
Jamie told police that, when she (and the camera crew) woke the young woman up at 10:30, she appeared disoriented and had difficulty talking. With the woman's help, Jamie contacted a male friend of the woman's and arranged for her transportation home. Despite the strong evidence of a possible rape and the possible use of a "date-rape" drug by a house visitor, no one from either Bunim-Murray or the Real World cast contacted the police to report the incident.
The young woman finally reported the alleged crime to the police and went for medical testing the next day, November 16. The medical report documented several abrasions and lacerations to her vagina and anus. The police sexual assault unit began investigating the next day, November 17, however by that time Bunim-Murray told police that the Real World castmembers were off in Mexico on vacation and that all videotape from the evening in question had been shipped to the company's Los Angeles production headquarters.
The police did manage to talk to Kevin Lee, the on-site producer of The Real World: San Diego, and Lee claimed that he had not viewed the footage but that, after talking to several cast members, he believed the young woman might have been sexually assaulted, and he confirmed that Justin was resident in the house at the time of the alleged assault. Left unexplained was why none of this information motivated him to look at the film or to use the on-site film-editing computer to review the incident, or even contact the police. Lee also agreed to co-operate with authorities and allow them to search the house's bathroom, however after receiving a phone call from Pam Naughton, an attorney representing Bunim-Murray's "Real World Productions" arm, Naughton overrode Lee and refused to permit the police to search the bedrooms and also stated that the producers would not turn over any documents or film until she personally reviewed them.
Left with no choice but to obtain a search warrant, the police were forced to stage a subsequent raid on the house, hauling off the film-editing computer, the cast's e-mail computer, bedding, towels, videotapes, and other possible evidence of the events of the evening in question.