Sexual Assault

Former Loyola Men’s Golfer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison For 2013 Rape

Former Loyola men's golfer Ben Holm pleads guilty to 2013 rape case and was sentenced to 10 years in a Georgia prison and 10 years on probation.

Former Loyola men’s golfer Ben Holm was sentenced to 10 years in a Georgia prison after accepting a plea deal stemming from a 2013 rape case when he was in high school.

Until recently, Holm was pursuing a double major in finance and economics at Loyola and was a member of the Loyola golf team from the fall of 2013 until the spring of 2016 when he left the program after his junior year for unspecified reasons. Although the rape happened after Holm committed to play golf at Loyola as a high school senior in Georgia, it’s unclear whether the Athletic Department was ever aware of Holm’s pending charges as it has decided to remain silent in the wake of Holm’s sentencing.

On April 27, 2013, Holm, who was 18 at the time, raped a 15-year-old girl on a playground at the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Georgia, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s (DA) office. The two had attended a party where alcohol was consumed.

Johns Creek Police Department Capt. Chris Byers told local media outlets in Atlanta that the victim’s parents took her to a hospital following the attack due to her intoxicated state, and doctors found evidence of sexual assault.

Prosecutors initially charged Holm with statutory rape on Dec. 16, 2014, more than a year and a half after the attack. In Georgia, statutory rape is a misdemeanor if the victim is between 14 and 16 years old and the defendant is less than four years older than the victim.

In April 2015, two years after the rape, prosecutors performed a month-long investigation, which revealed enough evidence to upgrade the case to a felony charge, according to the Fulton County’s DA’s office.

Following the felony charge, Holm went on to play in three contests with the Loyola men’s golf team in the fall of 2015.

Holm pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and statutory rape on Dec. 5, one week after the trial began and while the jury was deliberating, according to the Fulton County DA’s office.

Holm signed his National Letter of Intent to play golf at Loyola on Nov. 29, 2012 — almost five months prior to the attack — and graduated from from Johns Creek High School in May 2013.

The Loyola Athletic Department had no comment on the situation, wouldn’t disclose information regarding Holm’s possible scholarship and didn’t confirm whether he had athletic or academic scholarships. Loyola’s Athletic Director Steve Watson and Deputy Director of Athletics Jermaine Truax, the administrator in charge of the golf program, declined multiple interview requests from The PHOENIX.

Loyola Director of Communication Steve Christensen said the university was unable to provide a statement on Holm’s case due to his privacy and procedural rights as a student.

Students have expressed frustration with the university’s decision to remain silent after news broke of Holm’s sentencing. Sophomore Ashley Kennedy created a petition online to try to demonstrate how students don’t feel safe on campus given the circumstances of this situation.

The 19-year-old communication studies major told The PHOENIX she is demanding the university release a statement apologizing for its lack of transparency and educate the Loyola community about rape culture and sexual violence. The petition has already garnered more than 500 signatures in five hours.

Brenda Bernstein, Holm’s attorney, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Prosecutors sentenced Holm to 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation, according to the Fulton County DA’s office.

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Sports Editor

Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Madeline Kenney is a huge Cornhusker fan. Kenney is currently pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism and minoring in marketing and sports management. She has a spectacular vernacular, and that's why she's the sports editor of The PHOENIX.

22 thoughts on “Former Loyola Men’s Golfer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison For 2013 Rape”

  1. So in 5 hours 50o students signed over confessing they don’t believe in “innocent until proven guilty” I’d be impressed, but at a school like Loyola, that doesn’t surprise me. The kid fucked up. He’s a rapist and is serving for it. I don’t know what else should be done about. Does this communication major want him to be crucified in front of the IC? I don’t see why he shouldn’t have tried to live a normal life up until being convicted. Can we start a petition to include basic law in the core curriculum of the School of Communications?

    1. “The kid fucked up”….buddy…he more than fucked up. You don’t know what else should be done about it? How about looking a little deeper into who the school is giving scholarships, and giving admission to. The school basically paid for a rapist to be on campus, and to be around other women. Nobody here is questioning innocent until proven guilty, they are asking for basic precautions so that a person like this is not on the loose, putting other innocent women in danger. At least he is going to where he belongs now, but that’s not enough.

    2. “The kid fucked up” – the legal adult gave alcohol to a 15 year old girl and got caught by three people in the midst of raping her. A rape kit proved he raped her. Like my statement said, I want the University to release a statement apologizing for their lack of transparency. I understand the way the law works, but that is not right to prioritize his ability to go to a private institution over the safety of an entire student body. I do believe a person is innocent until proven guilty – but he was caught in the middle of raping a 15 year old girl, a child. Her entire life has been changed, traumatically, by his actions. “I don’t know what else should be done about” – Well I do. This school brags about caring about victims of violence, people who have survived rape, people who have been sexually assaulted. They have freshman take online quizzes and attend a talk about rape. But then when a star athlete is CHARGED with rape and statutory rape – they are silent. This is a private institution, they can deny someone if said person’s behavior doesn’t align with the schools values. My point is NOT whether or not he is guilty. This man was guilty the minute that girl’s friends walked over and saw her pleading ‘no, stop’ while he raped her. This man was guilty the minute that rape kit proved he raped her. My larger problem is Loyola perpetuating rape culture and not apologizing for a HUGE mistake. There is NO way they could not have known about this, just no way. This is a prime example of what happens when rich, white men commit a crime. They get special treatment. Can we start a petition to include a course on rape culture and how folks will defend a RAPIST’s ability to ‘live a normal life’ even if that puts thousands of people at risk? Why are you more disgusted with my anger than with the actual rape? This petition is not people who do not believe in innocent until proven guilty. This petition has turned into survivors of sexual assault testifying to how unsafe this campus is for people. This petition is people expressing their anger with complacency.

      1. Also, Loyola’s School of Communications offers multiple courses that integrate law and media. I wasn’t asking Loyola to punish him. I was asking Loyola to ensure the safety of students here by owning up to a mistake and ensuring that, despite their mistake, they will work hard to make sure students who now feel even more unsafe, given that a rapist walked this campus completely free and uninhibited, have the resources to ensure their safety. Each day I’m amazed when I come across people who choose to defend a rapist… even in the face of clear evidence. Would you be able to look a victim of rape in the eye and say ‘sorry you got raped but I think it’s unfair that people are so mean to him, he was just trying to be normal, loyola did not do anything wrong by letting someone who sexually assaulted a 15 year old child on campus to play a sport :/’ — Loyola owes students some words of apology and some action to educate others on rape culture and sexual violence. Have a little bit of empathy for the victim of rape who is now also trying to live a normal life, but is likely seeing people all over the internet defending him.

        1. I sort of get where the “concerned citizen” is coming from, like if someone is actually not guilty but facing trial. Then I don’t think Loyola should announce their name, and for that to be a policy then you wouldn’t be able to treat anyone with a pending trial as guilty….but on the same note, I think he’s going a little far to attack students signing the petition. The University definitely should have been informed of the trial, unless there is some sort of privacy policy that prevents that? And what would they have been able to do without a conviction? Kick him out? Had he been found innocent, Loyola would be in huge trouble. Oh, and why is no one talking about how he was originally arrested on statutory charges? Or how the court let him walk around for years after the rape? I feel like the court is more at fault for this than Loyola. Lastly, I think we can all agree that the phrase “the kid fucked up” is quite the understatement given he raped a girl and she has to go on living with that…

      2. “I do believe in innocent until proven guilty” and then you go on to say he shouldn’t have been let into Loyola before he was proven guilty. I’m starting a petition to have more law classes in the Loyola School of Communications because the current curriculum is a failure. Your group of petitioners who somehow think their signatures on a piece of paper supercedes actual laws is a joke. To address the other intelligent individual who somehow believes campus PD is at fault, what should they have done differently? Should they have made the original arrest down in Fulton, Georgia? Or should they have re-arrested him when he came to Loyola? Either way, he was not a convicted rapist while he attended Loyola, so they wouldn’t have been able to do anything regardless. Do any of you actually know how the law works?

      3. Hey Kennedy, get your facts straight. He did not give her alcohol. He was not a “star” athlete as you proclaim. I played in a US Am qualifier with him outside of DC and he is a good kid who, as you say, “fucked up.” How do you know that Loyola “could not have known about this?” Are you involved in the day to day activities of the administration at Loyola? YOU are an idiot. Did he demonstrate any of this “unsafe” behavior in his 3 years at Loyola?

    3. Ahhh, finally someone who is not acting impulsively without having any facts. Everyone is acting like Loyola intentionally overlooked his transgression. Loyola offered him the scholarship in November; this incident occured in April. If he nor the state provided this information to Loyola, how are they supposed to know? Should Loyola perform monthly background checks prior to admitting a student, then? Seems a bit unreasonable. I am by no means condoning this behavior, but the idea that this contradicts Loyola’s values is ludicrous.

    4. I agree with OP. Let the justice system decide who is and is not guilty, and which punishment is appropriate. We can’t just start letting LUC’s snowflake coalition lead lynch mobs around campus because they feel like it.

  2. Campus safety is more concerned about people from outside the Loyola community posing a threat to students than students who have already demonstrated themselves to be credible threats to other students. When Mutahir Rauf was killed in Dec 2014, all anyone could talk about was the need for more campus PD on the streets. For the entire two years since that happened a known rapist has been on campus, at parties, and competing for a D1 sports team. Check your priorities Loyola.

  3. 10 years? …. not proportional to the crime. Way too much time.

    An 18 year old gets way too drunk and has sex with a 15 year old. She’s in the act… sees her friends approaching … of course she says “stop”.
    Now he gets 10 years!?
    Crazy. I feel sorry for him.
    People do outlandish things when they are drunk… young people especially. It was an awful awful night for her. A terrible experience. But now HIS life is all but ruined.
    This is nuts.

  4. Did any of you people talking to Ashley Kennedy’s comments even read the petition? Or her response to the Loyola’s statement? She never asked them to prosecute Ben Holm or do anything of that matter. She, and students, called for TRANSPARENCY and clarity. Which they provided!! My daughter goes to Loyola and I’m disgusted by the attitudes presented in this comment section. Obviously the justice system decides who is guilty, but at the time so much confusion came from no one knowing if Loyola had any idea! They said that they didn’t and people are no longer upset with Loyola, as all they wanted to know was the truth – which is EXACTLY what the petition calls for. Also Tim how dare you say that isn’t enough time. That is what he deserves. I have a daughter and I think about if that had been her. That poor girl will have to live and remember that trauma for the rest of her life. She was a 15 year old child. Have some respect for victims. Loyola needs to educate its student body about sympathy and CARE for victims.

  5. One student charged in a rape case (that did not occur at Loyola or during enrollment) of course equates to a “culture of rape”. SJWs need to stop trying so hard to find something to take offense to. This patriarchal cis-scum world needs to stop oppressing them.

  6. Seems that the campus needs a ‘time out’ so everyone can have time think this out.
    The shock of it all is still dominating the discussion. Nothing good can come from discussions rooted in anger and frustration. And there is a role to play by the student now headed for prison after the trauma of trial; no doubt he now will have time to focus on the greater issues, and he may have something to say to the Loyola community about this. It is time to think about lessons learned.

  7. As someone who is very familiar with this trial, I would like to clarify a few things for what it is worth:
    1) The rape kit did NOT prove RAPE. Not sure where that incorrect fact stems from.
    2) There are many other facts that I will not produce here about what happened after she said STOP.
    3) He did not force alcohol

    I still want to know why a Chicago crime scene banner was photo shopped into this article. It was not a crime scene in Chicago. I guess it makes for good sensationalism.

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