This past October, we told you about sex-assault charges against Bojan Vuckovic and Dennis Hanson, a pair of Fort Collins men accused of getting two girls drunk and violently raping them. Vuckovic was subsequently convicted, but only of supplying alcohol to minors -- an outcome so shocking that a group called End RAPE Culture Fort Collins joined forces with the mother of Vuckovic's victim prior to Hanson's trial in order to fight against societal forces that tend to excuse or justify such offenses.
Hanson was subsequently found guilty of sex assault, as well as alcohol-related infractions, and the group is celebrating his sentencing yesterday as a belated step toward justice.
As we've reported, Vuckovic worked as a barback at Yeti Bar and Grill in Old Town Fort Collins, while his roommate, Hanson, served as a bartender at the same establishment.
On December 12, 2012, according to the statement shared with the court by the victim's mom (who we're not naming to protect her daughter's identity), a young woman and her friend "had been invited to a man's home for a get together with another man as well. The girls were served several shots of alcohol."
The victim feels she was also given a date-rape drug. Subsequent tests didn't turn up evidence of a drug of this type, but the victim's mom notes that such substances "dissipate from the body very quickly and thus are difficult to detect."
The next thing the victim knew, she was on the front porch of another residence in the neighborhood, "covered in blood and bleeding profusely from her vaginal area," her mom notes. Fortunately, the owner of the house was awake, and he and his roommate "took her into their home and thus saved her life," the mom continues. "As she bled on their floor they called 911 and did all they could to aid and comfort her. She literally almost bled to death."
The young woman was "so mentally incapacitated that she did not even know her name" at first, her mom notes. But she responded to treatment, and afterward, Vuckovic was found and charged with first-degree rape resulting in severe bodily injury, as well as serving alcohol to a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
At trial, however, the young woman's inability to remember the sexual assault, or any of the circumstances surrounding it, resulted in Vuckovic being exonerated of that charge -- a verdict that left the mom aghast. "It was considered to be CONSENUAL sex," she wrote the judge, adding, "We see this as a complete and utter oxymoron. Who would consent to such trauma, and how can it be moral for a person to commit such forceful sexual penetration on an unconscious person??? Therefore we feel that this is an erroneous and UNJUST verdict."
Her takeaway from the trial? "Our daughter was not only victimized by this violent rapist, but then again by our 'Criminal' Justice System, as it seems that there is much more leeway given to the defense's side, and the DA prosecutors' hands are tied in many ways," she wrote the judge. In her view, her daughter "was victimized by this society's rape culture bias. Essentially; if a woman dresses up nice, meets a man for a date and drinks alcohol with him, then that infers that she has consented to sex; evidently, violent sex or not. Lastly, and perhaps the worst, victimization is self inflicted, as she (like most rape victims) has accepted society's condemnation for her mistake, and there it is her burden to carry for the rest of her life."
Continue for more about the sentencing of Dennis Hanson and the fight to end rape culture, including more photos and the complete statement by one victim's mom. The victim's mom and members of End RAPE Culture Fort Collins were fearful Hanson might skate on the sex assault charges against him, too, despite reports that his victim suffered from multiple injuries and was in intense pain afterward. But as the Fort Collins Coloradoan notes, the prosecution had more ammunition in the second case, since Hanson had actually shot video of the assault.
The footage screened for the jurors not only provided compelling evidence that a crime had taken place, but the Coloradoan points out that it also contradicted Hanson's assertions that he had blacked out and was too drunk to know what he was doing. For instance, the clip showed that he was together enough to adjust the lights in order to improve the quality of the visuals.
During yesterday's sentencing, the Coloradoan quotes Hanson as saying he feels the "sensational" media coverage of his arrest and prosecution gave the public at large an inaccurate view of his character. He notes that he earned a Bronze Star while serving in the Middle East for the U.S. Army -- but afterward, he suffered from anxiety and depression that wasn't improved by his treatment of choice: alcohol.
Hanson asked for what's described as a "community-based sentence and supervised probation," but the judge in the case decided to put him behind bars instead. He was sentenced to five years for the rape as well as providing alcohol to minors. If his behavior within the corrections system is less than circumspect, the prison term could be extended indefinitely.
And that's not to mention a second case focusing on Hanson. In that domestic-violence incident, he's alleged to have "slammed a woman to a bedroom floor multiple times with his hands wrapped around her neck," the Coloradoan divulges.
Vuckovic is in jail, too; he got three years for the alcohol beef. But the Hanson decision was far more satisfying to those posting on the End RAPE Culture Fort Collins page. One person wrote, "That's a win for sure. One rapist might have got away but at least they got one of them."
Here's a complete look at Dennis Hanson's booking photo, followed by the mom's complete victim's statement to the judge in the Vuckovic case.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa October 2013: "Bojan Vuckovic's light sentence after sex-assault charge inspires End RAPE Culture protest."