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They've just learned that a son — or daughter — has been accused of sexual assault at college. And they're deathly afraid of what may happen next.
Seefeld, a Minnesota native and the mother of four sons, knows what they're going through. Six years ago, she was one of those parents. Now she's on a mission to help other families in that same "horrific" spot, as the co-founder and president of Families Advocating for Campus Equality FACEa support group for the accused.
Fargo mother turns sex-assault case against son into national campaign
But on college campuses today, she says, the innocent have as much to fear as the guilty. In the midst of a national outcry over campus rape, she says, students are being labeled sex offenders based on little more than an accusation. Not one to mince words, she compares the atmosphere to Salem witch trials. Even mention the rights of the accused, she says, and "there are people who are trying to twist that to, 'Oh, you're trying to protect rapists.
As a lifelong feminist, Seefeld, who grew up in Anoka, admits that she probably wouldn't have believed this six years ago. But now, she's convinced that the crackdown on sexual assault is creating a new class of victims.
In some ways, Seefeld says, her son was lucky. The police didn't believe his accuser's story. But the University of North Dakota did. In Januarya female student reported that she'd been sexually assaulted weeks before by Caleb Warner, then a year-old business major. The university promptly launched an investigation, and Warner, who said the sex was consensual, was summoned to a campus hearing. He was allowed to bring an attorney, but the rules prohibited the lawyer from speaking up. On Feb. The case against him started to falter when the Grand Forks police got involved, and contradictions emerged in the woman's story.
They learned that she had sent Warner a text message days after the alleged assault, indicating she wanted to have sex with him. Other details were contradicted by witnesses at the party. One claim, that she had seen a "Little Caesar's" through his bedroom window, was ruled out by police; they found the couldn't be seen from his room. In Mayauthorities took the unusual step of accusing the accuser of lying.
After year-old son receives sexual texts, west fargo mother chooses to combat online sex trafficking
She was charged with filing a false police report, and when she left the state, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Six years later, that warrant is still pending. Yet the university stood by its suspension, refusing to reopen his case. Seefeld was incredulous. She started "marching up and down the state," telling the story to lawmakers, state officials and anyone who would listen.
Still, it took more than a year, and the threat of a lawsuit, before the university backed down and lifted Warner's punishment. The university declined to comment, citing privacy laws. Her son never went back to school. But Seefeld had found a new cause. Inshe ed with two other mothers with similar stories to found FACE, the support group. As its president, she spends much of her time counseling other families and lobbying for more legal protections for students in campus tribunals.
Her goal, she said, is to restore a sense of balance on college campuses. Home All Sections Search. Log In Welcome, User. Coronavirus Minneapolis St. Paul Duluth St. Fargo son sex driver suspected of killing 2 passengers out of jail as charges pending.
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Local Fargo mother turns sex-assault case against son into national campaign She says schools are creating a new class of victims; one was her son. By Maura Lerner Star Tribune.
Video : Sherry Warner Seefeld's son was found to be innocent after being accused of sexual assault. The woman who accused her son was charged with lying to police. It took more than a year before before his school, the University of North Dakota, agreed to let him back on campus. Parents are often terrified when they call Sherry Warner Seefeld.
Year-old fargo woman accused of sex with year-old boy
Sherry Warner Seefeld formed a support group for families of students accused of assault. More from Star Tribune. Outdoors Wildly popular Minnesota rec area, neighbors prepare for 'Cuyuna 2. Olympics American dream: Lee's journey from St.
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