Sexual Assault

Loyola Denies Having Prior Knowledge of Holm’s Felony Charges

Eleven days after prosecutors sentenced former Loyola student Ben Holm to 10 years in a Georgia prison for felony charges from a 2013 rape case, Loyola broke its silence by denying it was aware of the charges pressed against Holm during his time at Loyola.

Some students criticized Loyola for its lack of transparency regarding Holm’s case and others said they no longer feel safe on campus. Sophomore Ashley Kennedy created an online petition demanding the university apologize for its silence and work to educate the Loyola community about sexual assault. In one day, the petition garnered nearly 1,200 signatures.

In response to those concerns, Thomas Kelly, Loyola’s Title IX Coordinator, released an email statement to the Loyola community on Dec. 16 addressing Holm’s case and the university’s stance against gender-based violence. Kelly wrote the university didn’t have knowledge of Holm’s charges until Loyola began receiving media inquiries on Dec. 12.

Kelly added that Loyola doesn’t tolerate violence and student safety is a “top priority” for the university.

“Through the work of the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), we continue to educate, provide access to services, and ensure that our campus community is a safe and supportive environment for survivors,” Kelly wrote. “Our Department of Athletics also continues to provide mandatory Title IX training to its coaches, staff and student-athletes, amongst other efforts to ensure our Community Standards are followed.”

Kennedy said she believed Kelly’s statement was a start, but she was critical of Loyola for not mentioning the word, “rape.”

“[The statement] showed that there is power in advocacy and Loyola heard the student voice. I’m glad that they are standing up for people who do not feel [safe on] campus,” Kennedy told The PHOENIX. “However, some of their wording was a bit unnerving … I wish they would have made more of a clear statement about what they will do to dismantle rape culture … Their email doesn’t change the fact that students still feel unsafe on campus. Loyola needs to start prioritizing the safety of students over bad press.”

Kennedy added that it’s uplifting to see students come together and advocate for change.

Kelly encouraged the Loyola community to report gender-based violence occurrences and said the university is looking for ways to protect those who report incidents.

The Athletic Department told The PHOENIX it stresses the importance of consent to its student-athletes and is trying to bring in sexual assault survivors to share their stories.

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.

Holm was initially charged with statutory rape, a misdemeanor in Georgia on Dec. 16, 2014, a year and a half after the attack. Five months later, the charges were upgraded to a felony after an investigation proved there was supporting evidence, according to the Fulton County DA’s office.

Despite the felony charge, Holm returned to campus for a year and a half.

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 is not registered for classes in the spring semester, according to Kelly’s email.

Read the full statement from Kelly below:

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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.

8 thoughts on “Loyola Denies Having Prior Knowledge of Holm’s Felony Charges”

  1. Well, there you go. Loyola didn’t know. Now Holm has been convicted and will serve the time for his crime. The justice system works.

    1. I’m glad Loyola made a statement. I still worry about my daughter and really all other students who go to Loyola and feel unsafe on campus. Does the justice system work, though? It took them 3 years to convict someone who was caught in the midst of raping a teen, I mean a rape kit proved it after 48 hrs. Thinking about this crime makes my blood boil! If this had been any other male who was not rich or white, they would have locked him up and thrown away the key the minute that rape kit came back positive…. The power of money and race.

      1. I agree that money and race play a role….often times a HUGE role. But there are thousands of cases stuck in the criminal justice system with people waiting years for trial. Lots of them, of all races, are out on parole. So an important qualifier to my earlier statement….. the justice system works….slowly. I blame it on too many lawyers.

        1. I understand the gravity of this issue if one was not aware of the circumstances surrounding incident. Sometimes the laws on the books, the penalties associated with them and the label applied to the individual involved do not fit what actually went on. I am a physician in Georgia, and Ben, the so called convicted rapist was one of my son’s best friends. If what occurred that night was rape, the prisons would be overflowing with teenage boys. The definition of Statutory rape in Georgia is when someone of age, i.e. 16 to 18 has sex with an underage individual, in Georgia it is defined as under 16, even if consensual. This unfortunate situation occurred at a senior high school party where alcohol was involved and caused impaired judgement of both parties and a sexual act occurred. Whether the act was consensual or not was in question, but as far as charges were concerned would not have mattered in Georgia with the statutory rape charge. I actually spoke to the “victims” father tonight and he felt rather distraught over the whole thing. I think he was very upset over what happened to his daughter but I felt he was equally upset over the extent of Ben’s punishment. Our family, having known Ben growing up, have been grieving over this whole situation. Ben is a mild mannered humble young man who has a gift for golf and has academic acumen. Seeing his peers at Loyola fearing for their safety because Ben was on their campus without their knowledge, makes me sick at the injustices of our system, and the waste of this exceptional young man’s life.

      2. Rape kit did not come back positive. Facts are being distorted in all the media. And the 3 year delay was due to legal system- nothing to do with race or money.

  2. 18 is young, but it’s old enough to know that a 15-year old who’s been drinking is not a person able to consent to sex. Especially when that 15-year old is saying “No, stop.” (http://www.myajc.com/news/crime–law/fulton-student-went-college-years-while-awaiting-rape-trial/4D74Jf5cUn6LhxG5EicoTL/)
    The tragedy here is that apparently even academically gifted young men are never taught how not to rape women, even though girls are taught that they are responsible for defending themselves against sexual assault from a very young age.

  3. He was innocent until proven guilty. That’s how the justice system works, if the courts were concerned about your “safety” they wouldn’t have let him walk around for 3 years. None of you even knew who he was until this article came out. His life is already ruined so let’s defame him a little more please, post this on every front page you can, feel good about yourself.

  4. I would like to know if the blue Chicago “police line” sign was photo shopped into the above picture to enhance the story? Since the incident occurred in Georgia, why is there a Chicago police sign in the picture? To stir fear? I would like the author of this article to let me know if this picture was enhanced and if so, for what reason?

    I know this kid. And in the years I’ve known him (especially after the incident), he has always been a polite, kind kid and somewhat subdued. There are two sides to this story and his punishment is beyond unreasonable. Consider looking at violent murderers who get out in 2 years. Consider looking at drug dealers who get one year.

    This sentence is beyond unbelievable for an 18 year kid who made a stupid mistake while both were under the influence of alcohol.

    Rest assured students, you were in no danger when Holm was on campus there. And I believe that Loyola does everything in it’s power to protect their students and should not be blamed for an incident they had no knowledge of.

    This kid is paying his dues and then some. Let it rest for the sake of his family.

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