ROGERS PARK — A Loyola University student is headed to prison in Georgia after he pleaded guilty to the rape and assault of a 15-year-old girl in 2013, according to police and news reports.
Ben Holm, then 18, was arrested after the attack in April 2013 at a playground in the gated Country Club of the South resort community in Alpharetta, Ga., which came after a party, reports show.
Holm was released on a $3,500 bond after pleading not guilty to statutory rape, Fulton County, Ga., records show.
He graduated high school shortly thereafter and accepted a scholarship to play golf at Loyola University in Chicago while free on bond. According to his Facebook page, he was a finance and economics major.
In April 2015, a grand jury increased the charges to felony rape, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Holm did not return to the university after Thanksgiving break this year because of the trial, the Journal-Constitution said.
During jury deliberations, Holm entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault and statutory rape. The plea carried a 10-year prison sentence and 10 years of probation.
He was booked into jail Dec. 5, according to police records.
Melissa Haggerty, a student organizer at Loyola with Students for Reproductive Justice, said she and others in her group were "disgusted" to hear of the charges against Holm, adding he was given a "pat on the back" while playing golf at Loyola, though he had an open criminal case in Georgia.
Being "white and wealthy" was part of the reason he was able to live a normal life during that time, she charged.
Loyola declined to comment on the case or the school's policy in situations where students with athletic scholarships are charged with a crime.
"We are unable to comment on specific cases due to our students' privacy and procedural rights," a statement from the school read.
Students have started an online petition calling on Loyola to "make a statement apologizing" for allowing Holm to stay at the school. The petition also says the school needs "to educate students and faculty about rape culture and sexual violence."
The petition had more than 1,000 supporters as of Friday afternoon.
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