A University of Minnesota student who went public with her fight for justice against the man who raped her has stirred action everywhere from the school president’s office to Washington, D.C., where officials pledged to change how campus sexual assault cases are handled, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Abby Honold, 21, met with university President Eric Kaler and has been in contact with the offices of Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), where they agreed to work on the issues raised by Honold’s case.
During her meeting with Kaler, Honold said she wanted the school to change its policies on how campus rapes are investigated. Kaler said that he would work to do that, Honold said. Katie Eichele, the director of the university’s Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education, said she got a call from the Minneapolis Police Department hoping to “find out how to better communicate and work through these issues,” she said. Honold was a junior at the school in 2014 when she was violently raped by another student, Daniel Drill-Mellum. After Minneapolis police initially arrested Drill-Mellum, the Hennepin County attorney’s office declined to press charges and he was released. It would take another year and the involvement of police officer Kevin Randolph, who persuaded more victims to come forward, before Drill-Mellum was charged. He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in August, and was sentenced to six years in prison. Before Drill-Mellum’s conviction, there were more than 1,000 sex assaults reported since 2010 to the Aurora Center, the school’s rape prevention and victim advocacy department. Eichele says the total number of assault prosecutions was zero.