A former LSU student transferred between three Louisiana colleges multiple times over a six-year period to avoid sexual assault and rape charges and investigations. At least seven women accused him of sex crimes, and due to multiple institutional failures, the universities were mostly unaware of the previous allegations, USA Today reported.
Victor Daniel Silva began his college career at LSU, but transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette shortly into his freshman year after he was accused of sexual assault. LSU failed to notify ULL of the allegation, USA Today reported, so when another woman accused him of rape at ULL, they assumed it was an isolated incident.
The Reveille reported in 2015 that LSUPD encouraged the ULL Police Department to arrest Silva after an LSU student accused him of raping her in her LSU dorm room. Silva was put on probation but the university remained unaware of the previous rape allegation against him at LSU.
Over the three years Silva remained at ULL, at least three women reported him for sexual misconduct to the Lafayette Police Department. Despite a memorandum of understanding that required the police department to notify the school if a student was accused of sex-related crimes, officers never notified the university.
Shortly following the last report, Silva transferred to Louisiana Tech University with a clean record. Less than two weeks in, he was accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious student in her apartment. Three days after the report was filed, Silva transferred back to ULL. Because of the hasty transfer, no investigation was begun at LA Tech, so the school did not notify ULL of the allegation.
In his final days at ULL, Silva was accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend's friend who had spent the night at their apartment. This allegation went unreported because the woman did not believe any action would be taken to discipline or charge Silva.
The universities' and police department's failure to report the allegations of assault constitute multiple violations of Act 172, signed into law two months after Silva's first rape allegation at LSU.
Act 172 was intended to curb campus sex crimes by alerting universities of a student's record upon transferring colleges. It required that information about allegations or investigations of sexual assault be shared with the university a student was transferring to, thereby eliminating the possibility of students using transfers to evade investigations and punishments, as Silva did. Act 172 also requires memorandums of understanding to be established between universities and local law enforcement, so if someone goes to a police department to accuse a student of sexual misconduct, the university is notified and can begin an independent Title IX investigation.
All universities and police departments denied any wrongdoing in the cases, including LSU.
"I would say the allegations against [Silva] were denied, meaning he was cleared of the charges, therefore there was no valid reason to notify another university. Had he been found guilty, that would have been a different story," LSU Vice President of Communications Jim Sabourin told The Reveille.