Sex assault victim confronts former MIT student who dodged prison for attack


A woman who was sexually assaulted inside her Boston University dorm room addressed her attacker in court on Tuesday, after the former Massachusetts of Technology student dodged prison in a plea deal with prosecutors.

The woman, now 22, addressed Samson Donick in a packed Boston courtroom after he pleaded guilty to indecent assault and battery, assault and battery, and breaking and entering in the October 2015 attack, the Boston Globe reports.

Reading from a statement from the witness stand, the woman – who was not identified since she’s a victim of sexual assault – recalled being hospitalized and the “sudden and intense breakdowns” she endured after the attack, which changed her from a “student to a victim to a survivor,” she said.

But telling her parents of the assault was especially tough, she said, adding that she initially asked her lacrosse coach to make the call because she “wasn’t strong enough” to do so.

“The sobs of my mom filled her phone and my dad yelling behind: ‘What happened? Is he OK?’” she said. “The overwhelming guilt of making my parents feel this way overcame me. But wait – why did I feel guilty? I had done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Donick, of Tiburon, California, will avoid prison time under terms of a plea agreement after the woman told prosecutors she didn’t want to testify at trial. Donick was instead sentenced to five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. A judge also agreed to waive a requirement forcing him to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts, but said Donick — who had been charged with aggravated rape and faced up to life in prison if convicted — will likely have to register as such in California.

The woman said on Monday that she didn’t want Donick to be mandated to register as a sex offender because “everyone deserves second chances.” She also urged Donick, a former basketball player at MIT, to make amends for his actions.

“I ask that you make your future untainted,” she told Donick. “I ask that you make a positive impact in every life you touch, because the many negative impacts you made in mine and my family’s are enough for a lifetime. I ask that you take seconds, minutes, and hours, and truly realize how one early morning you changed a 20-year-old girl from a student to a victim to a survivor. I ask that you live each day with a little reminder of what you did and make up for it.”

Judge Janet Sanders said Tuesday that the assault would typically “cry out for some jail time,” noting that the plea agreement was lenient. Sanders said on Monday that she was “baffled” by the proposed plea deal to keep Donick out of prison.

Donick, who did not know the woman prior to the attack, said he was “extremely sorry” and felt “deep shame” for his behavior.

“She’s incredibly courageous,” Donick said. “And it breaks my heart that I’m responsible for this.”


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