Student Regent Jesse Cheng arrested for attempted rape

According to the New University, UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng was arrested for attempted rape and sexual battery on Nov. 4, at his campus apartment, several weeks after the survivor, a UCLA Law student going by the alias “Laya,” reported it to police.  Cheng had tried to convince her not to report it.

UCI Police apparently forwarded the charges, PC 243.4 (a) sexual battery) and PC 664/261 (a) 2 attempt rape, to the Orange County District Attorney’s office and UCI’s Student Conduct Office.

However, the OCDA’s office has declined to file charges.  The OCDA’s Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder told New U:

“The case was received by our office, a deputy DA received the case, and she concluded that she could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt… It was submitted to our office for misdemeanor sexual battery. We’re not saying it didn’t happen, we’re just saying that we cannot file a case unless we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. And in this incident we could not. The deputy on this case was not aware of any position that Cheng held, nor would it have made a difference.”

The Inquirer, a Filipino-American news outlet, reported that Cheng sent the following email to Laya:

“I am sorry for sexually assaulting you. I want to take complete ownership of that thought, that I tried to convince you to have sex with me when you clearly didn’t want to, when you screamed no and fought me… I tried to rape you and I thank you everyday for not letting me do that to you.”

The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, & Marginalization (AF3IRM) has released the following statement regarding Cheng:


The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism Re-feudalization, & Marginalization (AF3IRM) stands firmly with Laya, a UCLA student, who spoke out against Jesse Cheng, University of California (UC) Student Regent, who sexually battered and attacked her on October 3, 2010.  Cheng, who is supposed to be the “student voice” as the only undergraduate UC student on the highest decision-making body of the UC system, the Board of Regents, has done a disservice to all UC students by misrepresenting them with his sexist, violent, irreproachable behavior.

Jesse Cheng’s inexcusable behavior, coupled with his representative power as an appointee UC Regent, will not be tolerated. AF3IRM draws attention to the fact that though Laya was brave enough to file a police report on the
incident, the Orange County District Attorney’s office has never seen it, thus never formally holding Jesse Cheng legally accountable for his actions. AF3IRM will remain steadfast in demanding that Jesse Cheng take full
responsibility for his crime and that the UC students be able to elect a Student Regent who is truly representative of their needs. Batterers should not be the voice of the UC students.

In the face of UC-wide budget cuts throughout the state of California, including a new cut proposal of $500 million in Governor Jerry Brown’s budget, it is also time for students to ensure that their tuition pay for important services for women on UC campuses, instead of forcing survivors like Laya to depend on university authorities, who take months or even years to investigate and punish crimes of sexual assault on campuses.

AF3IRM calls on all UC students to demand justice – an attack on one student is an attack on all! Demand that Jesse Cheng be removed from his post as student regent, that students be given the right to elect their next regent,
and that student resources for women be preserved and funded in the UC system! No longer will Jesse Cheng be able to use his power to sidestep justice. We applaud and echo Laya’s brave statement: “I don’t want to let
him silence me anymore.”

We have previously been appreciative of Cheng’s support for students during the past two years of budget cuts and fee hikes, but we feel that Cheng no longer represents the interests of UC students and should immediately step down.  We understand the complexity of rape accusations, but Cheng’s email is an admission of guilt, and even if he isn’t criminally prosecuted, he must do everything in his ability to make himself accountable to Laya and to the UCI community.

Additionally, it must be stated that the lack of interest in this case by the OCDA demonstrates the absolute hypocrisy of the criminal “justice” system and the UCI administration.  We stand firmly in opposition to the prison system and Prison-Industrial Complex, but we must question why Cheng, who caused and attempted to cause physical and emotional harm to another person, is not being charged, while 30 students and community supporters are facing criminal charges–possibly resulting in prison time–for participating in protests in which no one was injured and no harm was intended.



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3 Responses to Student Regent Jesse Cheng arrested for attempted rape

  1. gary says:

    he raped that girl for sure…

  2. Observer B says:

    Does the call to resign change after Cheng’s explanation in his letter to the New U? It seems that the truth status of an e-mail is not necessarily as stable as one might assume from someone else’s copying lines from it, when the e-mail’s “author” claims to have copied the lines himself from language specified by the accuser. Speech acts get nasty. Of course, one can choose not the believe Cheng’s explanation–but why does the claim to truth stick more to his accuser’s language than to his?

    • Mr. F says:

      Cheng’s statements in his letter as well as verbally to students that “she’s crazy,” that “she still wants him,” that he did it so that she would leave him alone, along with his privacy-infringing play by play of his sexual activity with her, calls into question both his integrity and his commitment to social justice. The other half of the issue is that the police and DA lied to Laya about her case, and that falls on the powers that be rather than Jesse.

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