Rep. Earl Ehrhart’s miserable pet project to protect accused rapists at Georgia college campuses won’t die.
Early last year, Ehrhart filed a bill that would have protected accused rapists on college campuses across Georgia by blocking schools from investigating campus sexual assault claims without an immediate police investigation.
The legislation and its attempted reincarnations failed, but emails recently obtained by Buzzfeed news have revealed even more about Ehrhart’s backward efforts.
According to the report, Ehrhart sent emails to officials at the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University concerning various investigations.
Ehrhart berated the schools for making decisions he doesn’t agree with and, unfortunately, he has the resources to force his agenda.
He chairs the committee that controls funding for Georgia’s state universities, and he’s not afraid to abuse that power.
The emails show he threatened to cut funding from state universities investigating sexual assault allegations.
He also told administrators to shut down the systems they have for adjudicating sexual misconduct. He even went as far as to insist that a dean that was conducting a background check on a prospective student with a past misconduct accusation should be fired.
The New York Times Magazine details one horrendous episode orchestrated by Ehrhart.
The emails shed light on a rape case in October 2016, when an investigation by Kennesaw State University determined a 20-year-old man accused of raping a classmate was culpable for the crime. The victim assumed action had been taken against the him and her rapist was no longer on campus.
The accused rapist had asked for the school to rehear the case.
When Ehrhart heard about the case he wrote directly to KSU’s president, claiming the case was “made for TV absurdity,” demanding to know why, if cops hadn’t pressed charges, the school hadn’t exonerated the student in the first place.
This time, there was a new list of witnesses on the accused rapist’s side, including Ehrhart. When the victim saw his name on the list, she was confused.
“I had no clue who he was or what he could possibly know about somebody raping me,” the woman said. “As soon as Ehrhart’s name came up, everything went crazy, and they dropped any care they had for me.”
It’s no mystery why. Ehrhart co-owned a sprawling sports complex that partnered with the school. What’s more, when KSU was seeking a new president in 2016, Ehrhart championed Sam Olens, who’d served with Ehrhart on the board of a KSU business accelerator. Olens took the position in a cloud of controversy, and he’s stepping down from it in an even murkier fog.
As expected, the university reversed its decision about a month later, exonerating the student it had once deemed guilty.
Ehrhart, relying on money and political clout, was instrumental in the unraveling of the case. Now he’s got his hands on Georgia campuses across the state.