AUSTIN (KXAN)– The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center worries the outcome of former Texas Longhorns coach Chris Beard’s high profile domestic violence case could discourage other survivors from reporting their own cases.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza dismissed the domestic violence case against Beard Wednesday, stating that, “after a careful and thorough review of the evidence, recent public statements, and considering Ms. [Randi] Trew’s wishes, our office has determined that the felony offense cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“It’s not uncommon, unfortunately, when a survivor decides to recant the allegation, the prosecutors’ office are often faced with that dilemma of figuring out whether or not to proceed without their cooperation,” said HCWC CEO Melissa Rodriguez.
The SAFE Alliance in Austin said statistically only 2% of survivors make false allegations.
Rodriguez said it is possible the outcome could discourage people from coming forward in the future.
“We do domestic violence education classes for this very reason, because it’s not uncommon… for victims to not see themselves as a victim,” CEO Melissa Rodriguez said. “After the fact, they question that. They think, ‘You know, this couldn’t have happened.’ Or, ‘It’s not going to happen again, I’m going to be able to change these dynamics.'”
Rodriguez said she sees a lot of people recant their allegations, for a lot of reasons, including self-blame and guilt.
“There’s always that rewinding of, ‘If I had done XYZ differently, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.’ And they take a lot of responsibility for someone else’s actions when they escalate to violence,” she said.
She said sometimes it is a matter of survival.
“‘Will I lose this person? Will I not have a home?’ It’s not uncommon for survivors to be dependent on their partner,” Rodriguez explained.
Beard’s attorney said the DA’s decision vindicates his client.
“Everyone knows that Coach Beard has maintained his absolute innocence since the moment he was arrested. Today, the district attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case in the Interest of Justice, which is not common. Additionally, this district attorney has a well-earned reputation for being very tough regarding domestic violence cases. The fact that Mr. Garza’s review resulted in this determination so quickly – says a lot. We are very pleased,” said Perry Q. Minton.