NEW YORK CITY?A 22-year-old Filipino-American woman filed a complaint of attempted rape against well-known student regent Jesse Cheng of the University of California system. Although the complaint was filed with the City of Irvine Police Department on Oct. 26, 2010, it came to light only recently.
The Filipino-American, referred to only by the pseudonym Laya, is a student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Law School.
According to the complaint, the alleged sexual battery occurred on Oct. 3, 2010, when Cheng invited Laya to his apartment in Irvine for dinner. The two had had a relationship since October 2009 but had decided to break up in September 2010.
Laya said that she went into Cheng?s bedroom to drop off her purse, as was her practice when she and Cheng were dating. Cheng followed her and allegedly proceeded to force her to have intercourse. She said she resisted, both physically and verbally.
Laya said she considered what to do for three weeks, during which she spoke to and exchanged e-mails with Cheng. In an e-mail, Cheng wrote: ?I am sorry for sexually assaulting you. I want to take complete ownership of that thought, that I tried to convince you to have sex with me when you clearly didn?t want to, when you screamed no and fought me? I tried to rape you and I thank you everyday for not letting me do that to you.?
Ironically, Cheng is a popular student activist, supporting student struggles over state budget cuts for higher education. In a laudatory Huffington Post piece, Cheng was said to have three personal goals: ?get students into college, make them feel safe there and get them out with a degree.?
Cheng also came out as a bisexual 17 days following the alleged incident?for which he received much praise and media exposure.
Cheng, an Asian-American Studies senior at the University of California Irvine, was appointed student regent in July 2010.
His term of office will expire in July of this year. As student regent, he represents students in all ten UC campuses.
The detective who took Laya?s complaint recommended in the report that it ?be forwarded to the Orange Country District Attorney?s Office for the filing of PC 243.4 (a) sexual battery) and PC 664/261 (a) 2 attempt rape.?
Laya was later informed that the district attorney had declined to prosecute. Further inquiries however elicited the information that there was no record of the case at the district attorney?s office.
Rape is endemic in the US where one occurs every two minutes and attempted rape every three minutes. According to official statistics on violence against women, 4.9 percent of all college women experience rape or attempted rape annually. Women of Philippine descent experience one of the highest rates of violence, with 40 percent of women killed by current or former intimate partners in the Bay Area being of Filipino ancestry. Of the eleven women killed by intimate partners in recent years in Hawaii, nine were of Filipino descent.