SMU Student Indicted for Raping a Classmate in a Dorm Room

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Dallas County
Donald Samuel Cuba
A 20-year-old junior at SMU has been indicted on charges that he raped a fellow student in a dorm room in February, Dallas County records show. The student, Donald Samuel Cuba, was booked into Dallas County Jail and is out on a $15,000 bond.

The story -- including details on the school's controversial student-discipline hearings -- was broken by three students of Craig Flournoy, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who teaches investigative reporting at SMU. But it was published in Fort Worth Weekly, not the student-run Daily Campus. Its path to the alt-weekly is odd, and makes a pit stop on our desk.

Back in April, two of the authors, Brooks Igo and Patricia Boh, published a story in The Daily Campus about the plight of Monika Korra, the SMU cross country runner who was kidnapped and gang raped at gunpoint as she left a party in Old East Dallas in 2009. Two weeks later, with classmate Natalie Posgate, they wrote a follow up detailing SMU's non-adversarial method of handling alleged student-on-student sexual assaults. Korra's was the only case in more than 100 reported incidents over 25 years in which the attacker was successfully prosecuted, they reported.

BohPosgate and Igo graduated in the spring. But last Thursday, they received a tip that Cuba had been indicted. Together with Posgate, they put together a 600-word piece about the case. They took it to The Daily Campus on Wednesday, expecting to see it in print before week's end.

But it never ran.

"The next day, which would have been yesterday, we wanted to iron out a couple things," Igo said today. "We did that, brought it back to them, and then they said there was just a couple of conditions that we'd have to meet for it to be published with them, and they wanted to delay the publishing til Sunday or Monday."

The conditions were that Igo, Posgate, and Boh reveal the two confidential sources in the story, and that it be published as a staff report because two of the reporters had already graduated. It's common practice for editors to know the identity of anonymous sources. Still, Igo said, the students refused to comply. (Jay Miller, the media adviser at SMU, declined to comment on why the story didn't appear in the pages of the Daily Campus.)

(Update on Sept. 15: Miller emailed last night after the article appeared. "As I told you on the phone this afternoon, The DC has any number of stories in progress at any given time. The customary back-and-forth between editors and writers is expected, necessary and can often be tedious. It's not a process that is usually conducted -- by any media outlet -- in a real-time public forum. If you'll recall, this is what I told you on the phone and did not say 'no comment.'")

The students then brought the story to the Observer, hoping we'd run it. But our editors declined, too.

We figured the authors would come to an agreement with the Daily Campus before long, but no: There the story is, on the Fort Worth Weekly site, with the following editor's note:

Editor's note: Fort Worth Weekly has reported several times over the last several years about controversies regarding the reporting and handling of crime on college campuses, in Texas and nationally. Included in that coverage was an award-winning story reported by student journalists around the state, including those at Southern Methodist University.

The Weekly is publishing this story as a follow-up to that earlier coverage and also because the journalists on this story -- one current SMU student and two alumni -- were having trouble finding another news media organization to publish the story under conditions the students found acceptable.

The Weekly, apparently, offered those conditions. Read the students' story here.

Editor's note: This story has been tweaked to make it clear that Cuba's indictment was confirmed through court records by Unfair Park; there seemed to be some confusion about that.

And just to explain, since there seems to be some general disease with this story: Basically, we heard about this from the student journalists, who were hoping we would run the story. We chose not to run the story, for any number of reasons; reported it independently while mulling how to proceed; and published it once the students found a home for it. It was an unorthodox situation, and we found the story of the students' travails interesting enough to share after presenting the fact of the indictment.

If you have questions leave them in the comments and I'll try to respond. -- Joe Tone, editor

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49 comments
libsterintexas
libsterintexas

I know my post is a long time in coming; However, it is fresh in my mind because the "accused" rapist, Donald Cuba, is being tried today in criminal court.  Those who have said or intimated about the character of the victim obviously don't know her - or the FACTS in the case.   I was there to help pick up the pieces of her shattered life - you weren't!  It was not date rape - she DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THE A******!  

After SMU trying to bury her complaints against him and pretend that this didn't really exist (can we say University reputation and donations?), they were finally forced to look at the issue when, with no other recourse, she went to the police.  Only then did they look into it and find enough evidence to INDICT him - and kick him off campus. 

Oh....but that isn't stopping him.  (The definition of arrogance!)  He's been seen back on campus and at parties...preying on innocent young girls.   

I just hope that his parents (high-powered attorneys) don't get him off and wake up to the fact that their son needs help!  Rape is not about sex, but about anger....and anyone who has experienced the horrors of it knows the terror and deserves her day in court!


AmyM7
AmyM7

I'm curious as to why stories about bridges and national VVM edit get front-page billing, but a story about a woman being gang-raped and kidnapped and SMU not doing a GD thing about it doesn't merit ink?! 

annb
annb

Does SMU's handling of matters like this sound similar to the Catholic church or the Boy Scouts handling of sexual assaults?

deep-sigh
deep-sigh

Could you add more details as to why the DO editors chose not to go with it?  Did ya'll also have a pipeline of stories that couldn't be moved? Did you not trust the alumni writers? Did you want to know the sources as well? Does the DO have policies printing stories not written by DO Staff? I mean thanks for all the other stories of injustice etc etc, I guess I'm surprised you didn't think a possible second conviction of rape at SMU in 100 years wasn't worth printing until someone else did ran the story.

alfredo
alfredo

I'm confused, does the victim have to use the SMU process and does the SMU police refer sexual assault cases to the DA

rldvs70
rldvs70

I think if they name the alleged perp is published they should name the alleged victim ! She is only a victim if the crime actually happened ! This woman can say anything but proving it is another matter.

fondotondo
fondotondo

Please correct this in the story:

 

The "students" who presented this story and got turned down by SMU were NOT students. They had purposely misrepresented themselves and are actually out of college. This has been confirmed. Brooks Igo and Natalie Posgate (the "student" writers)  stooped to certain lows to get their story published, without having done any extensive research about the case. 

 

The SMU Daily Campus did not publish the story because they were waiting for confirmation from credible sources, which is respectable. 

 

In addition, those who know the case have a better understanding of the illegitimacy of this story and dishonesty from the girl. 

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

TRAYVON....YOU COULDA GOTTEN A SCHOLARSHIP TO SMU......

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

"there seems to be some general disease with this story"  Seems "unease" might be a better word.  I'll be the asshole to say it, "date rape" is a bit different than "legitimate rape"  They might well be the same thing, but if a guy is a bit pushy, opportunistic, and exploitative.  This is wrong, but it might well be fair to call many of these incidents as something less than full blown rape.  Women don't always say "no" and these matters aren't always so cut and dried.  There's a difference from use of force, or threats of force and the force of an adolescent too eager to get some.  We all know this is true, but we have no provision in the law for this difference.

Dallas238
Dallas238

This has been SMU's strategy for generations. First they blame the victim, then they intimidate the victim in to not pressing charges or simply discount all allegations as coming from a mere female. The perpetrator is set free with all charges dismissed behind closed door secret proceedings.

 

And these people actually defend and believe that a closed door system in which all records are kept secret — works well. Yes! it does work quite well for the rapist, in maintaining secrecy of his identity it allows him to continue his crimes against many more women.

 

SMU needs to wake up and join the 21'st century. SMU Officials who fail to immediately report these crimes to the Dallas Police Department need to be brought up on charges themselves if they want to continue to conceal these crimes against their female students.

SMU-journalism-major
SMU-journalism-major

I'm a journalism major at SMU and was a classmate in the spring with Boh, Igo and Posgate.  The class that sparked the original reporting in the spring was an investigative reporting course taught by both Dr. Craig Flournoy and Professor Jake Batsell, both formerly of the Dallas Morning News.

Sam851
Sam851

The only thing yellow here is a bunch of SMU students and faculty wanting to sweep this sort of thing under the rug as they have for decades. Next they will want to debate what's "Legitimate Rape". I hope the guy gets 20 years minimum if he's guilty. This story needs to be kept in the press until justice is done.

 

There is nothing wrong with a journalist keeping a source confidential. It's been done for years all over this country. Of course there are those who would like to intimidate witnesses and take retribution on Sources. Why else would they be so concerned about the sources.

steve.sandwich
steve.sandwich

The indictment is the key to the story's legitimacy.  It would be nice to see an update if the kid is found innocent.   Something tells me the charges will be dropped, though.

Mustangs
Mustangs

You all need to remember that his boy is innocent until proven guilty. No details are provided. Maybe they are not covering it up. Maybe they didn't want anything published because this boy could actually be completely innocent.There have been many cases of girls claiming rape for attention, a coverup instead of admitting they cheated, a cry for help, etc. You cannot judge this person. Only a court of law can, so do not gossip about such serious matters. 

Mysteriousmotives
Mysteriousmotives

It is true that student newspapers do not run articles by non-students, unless they are opinion pieces, I also can see why a student newspaper would want to know the identity of anonymous sources before publishing a piece. I believe these student editors were being responsible and for some reason, someone wanted to ram this story into the media before they had a chance to check out all the sources and make sure it was an accurate story. The question is, why?

Disgust
Disgust

Yellow journalism at its finest by the Dallas Observer. The last time I checked student newspapers do not run articles by non-students. The last time I checked editors and writers work together on pieces (and writers do not just bring stories to newspapers). The last time I checked editors know about sources before publishing to ensure that the confidential sources are legitimate. 

J_ckH__ke
J_ckH__ke

@Dallas_Observer That is very irresponsible journalism. Yall should be ashamed for promoting it

ObserverHatesFacts
ObserverHatesFacts

"SMU Student Indicted for Raping a Classmate in a Dorm Room" says the headline but then the article is just some voice nation pissing match? 

Newtonianphysic
Newtonianphysic

@Dallas_Observer Can you really get an education here?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 

celebrate divershitty!!! 

 

 

His last name IS Cuba.

deep-sigh
deep-sigh

 @rldvs70 Arrest records and court proceedings are public records. Some states have shield laws to shield victims from being identified and then being shamed, which is pretty much you would like to to do. Most journalists and news outlets do not identify victims of rape.   He'll have his day in court and the DA will be able to prove his guilt, he'll be acquitted or perhaps plea to a lesser charge.

Concerned
Concerned

 @rldvs70 The victim is not accused of committing a crime and the suspect is. The district attorney would not bring charges unless there was some evidence. Would you say the same thing in a robbery? Because if this man is found guilty, he did rob the victim.

really
really

 @fondotondo Why would anyone need to go to the "sources" to confirm a criminal charge. Unless the source was the arresting officer or DA then it's just hearsay. You can easily confirm criminal cases on the court records found online. I may not be a SMU graduate but any one with a pc and the ability to do a simple search can figure that out. 

Furthermore, if it has something to do with a student then it's news for your paper. Showing the face of a person that could be dangerous to other students is just  a good way to protect your law abiding students who are there to get an education at a top school. Their safety should come first; it's vital to your schools reputation to ensure their safety.  

miss.stephanie.hope
miss.stephanie.hope

 @scottindallas

 ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  It does not require force, scars, scratches, etc, for it to be rape.  Trying to differentiate rape, as though certain "types" are ok makes you sound ignorant.  Rape is Rape. Period.  You cannot even fathom what it's like to have all power and control over your own body taken away from until you've been through.  So try not to sound like a douchebag who probably does have to force it on women to get some.  And I second the comment "Tell that to your daughter"... I don't know what smart woman rejected that makes you hate women so much, but I pray you grow up and develop some compassion and understanding for the trauma some people (not just women!) go through.

really
really

 @scottindallas rape is clearly "any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person." and anyone who doesn't understand that needs to a clue.  

observist
observist topcommenter

 @scottindallas

 In cases like this the middle ground between Andrea Dworkin-style "all men are rapists" and rufuslevin-style "she wuz askin' fer it" seems to be sparsely populated. 

 

On a completely unrelated note, did I hear you call into "Think" on KERA last Thursday?  Someone called in making your case about high nominal tax rates with generous deductions for capital investments.

gmit
gmit

 @Dallas238 What do you mean SMUs strategy, thats people in power's strategy forever. "How dare so and so do such and such, but our boy/girl was involved in a little mixup down at the college, but its nothing"

 

And really can you imagine running any orginaztion where 90% of your customers are not only minors (as our current social labels go) but that their parents are already lawyerd up, talk about little league dads  

EdD.
EdD.

 @Sam851 And if he's innocent? He's going to be stuck with lurid articles like this one in his Google history for the rest of his life. I'm betting the Observer won't run an article with the accuser's full name and a big color picture under a headline like "SMU Student Found Not Guilty; Life Already Ruined By Media". I'll be quite happy to be wrong.

Whattt
Whattt

 @Buddy  @Dallas_Observer Because the story lacks legitimacy. That's why so many papers turned it down. It had to go all the way to Fort Worth to get published.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Mustangs Mustangs. The coverup began and continues through the secrecy of the SMU proceedings. These college Judge Judy affairs may be tolerated for honor code violations or other matters that do not rise to a felony. As for prosecuting felony cases, the SMU Secret Court, the one without prosecutors, qualified judges, due process, or enforcement powers is not the capable of dependable adjudication.

engmofo
engmofo

 @Mustangs "There have been many cases of girls claiming rape for attention"

??? proof ???

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

 @Disgust Why is this yellow journalism by us? We declined to run the story for the very reasons you cite, and reported the facts presented here independently.

joeptone
joeptone

@J_ckH__ke What's irresponsible about it?

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

 @ObserverHatesFacts The facts are right there in the lead: The kid was indicted. And it's not a pissing match at all. No beef whatsoever with FW Weekly running the story. Just not what we chose to do. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @miss.stephanie.hope Really, just like selling dope is the same whether you sell 1/4 oz to a couple of friends, or you're moving kilos in your well armed operation?   In law we tend to differentiate between degree. 

 

Some guy who you're nude kissing on a bed, freely who tries to slip it in is, in your mind no different to some guy, barging into your house, holding and restraining you and raping you?  Some guy who drugs you and rapes you while you're unconscious is no different than the pushy/hopeful guy you were dating? 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@really

Really, just like selling dope is the same whether you sell 1/4 oz to a couple of friends, or you're moving kilos in your well armed operation?   In law we tend to differentiate between degree. 

 

Some guy who you're nude kissing on a bed, freely who tries to slip it in is, in your mind no different to some guy, barging into your house, holding and restraining you and raping you?  Some guy who drugs you and rapes you while you're unconscious is no different than the pushy/hopeful guy you were dating?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@EdD. @Sam851 So no more crime reporting using the alleged criminal's name? Just report the convictions? Keep all pre-conviction documents closed? No trial coverage until the guilty verdict? I don't think so.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Whattt @Buddy @Dallas_Observer The story has a enough legitimacy to get a veteran sex offenses prosecutor to review the case and get an indictment.

TexOHara
TexOHara

 @primi_timpano  @Sam851 I agree with you it'll never happen, but the justice system always works better when the media is not trying to make everything in the courtroom out to be the next Trial of the Century.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@fdsfs @joe.tone @Disgust As noted by the prosecutor, this is the first ever prosecution of a student who allegedly raped a student. This tells you all you want to know about their disciplinary policies. SMU students, the next time a fellow student commits a felony against you, do not call campus security, call the real police.

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