Two MU students report being sexually assaulted after drinking at winery

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | 3:54 p.m. CDT; updated 11:30 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ROCHEPORT — Two 18-year-old MU students reported they were sexually assaulted in two separate incidents after events at Les Bourgeois Winery and Vineyards in Rocheport, the Boone County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

Boone County Sheriff's Department Maj. Tom Reddin said the first assault "possibly" occurred on the business's property, but he wouldn't confirm that. The second incident did not happen on the property. Both incidents happened after the women got drunk at the winery and became separated from their friends, Reddin said.

The reports come a few days after another MU student was hit by a bus in the winery's parking lot. That student, Brian Lindsey, 22, of Springfield, was listed in serious condition after the accident early Friday morning. His condition was fair Tuesday afternoon.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Lindsey was with a large group of students at the winery. He was struck when he tried to stop the bus after many other students  boarded it.

In a two-sentence news release from the winery Tuesday afternoon, marketing director Rachel Mills said Les Bourgeois would "suspend hosting of all large after-hour events at the A-frame and farm until further notice. Patron group adherence to safe transportation and event planning is paramount before reinstatement."

The first reported sexual assault occurred on Sept. 2, Reddin said, and was reported on Sept. 13. The department has interviewed a suspect in that incident and has submitted evidence to the Boone County Prosecutor's Office for charges to be filed.

Reddin said that because of the time that elapsed between the incident and the report, it would be difficult to collect forensic evidence.

The second incident occurred Sept. 17 and was reported the next day, Reddin said. After that incident, a "good Samaritan" — whom Reddin identified as a "male witness" — encountered the victim, saw that she was intoxicated and allowed her to sleep at his residence to ensure her safety.

"We applaud his efforts," Reddin said.

He also praised Les Bourgeois for its cooperation in the investigations and its concern for the safety of its patrons. "(The owners) are very, very concerned for the safety of the people who come out there," Reddin said.

He said the winery has canceled at least 15 scheduled events since the incident occurred.

"You end up with hundreds of kids in a place where the primary objective is to drink intoxicating beverages," he said.

Reddin said people who go out for a night of drinking should take necessary precautions, such as designating a group of friends to stay close to and finding a sober driver.

"We want people to understand when you go out, stay with your group of friends," Reddin said. "Don't overindulge, and if you do, make sure a safety plan is in place."

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Mark Foecking September 23, 2009 | 3:47 a.m.

Good for Les Bourgeois for cancelling these events, however, this is symptomatic of a larger problem.

We spend a lot of money on compliance checks, but underage students keep getting in trouble for alcohol related offenses. Like it or not, selling underage drinkers alcohol is a significant source of revenue, for both business, and tax and fine income for the city.

We won't see a real dip in underage drinking until we get tough, and start suspending or revoking some liquor licenses. If the city is not willing to take the revenue hit from doing so, then the status quo will continue.


(Report Comment)
Sara Connor September 23, 2009 | 9:40 a.m.

Yes, commendable of Les Bourgeois to cancel events!(sarcasm) They are desperately hoping to stay out of any more trouble than having their name mentioned in the paper. You bet they cancelled!!

You bet this is a much larger problem. I find it interesting that not a word was mentioned regarding Les Bourgeois' serving underage kids. It was not specifically mentioned but having been there done this, I'm assuming that they were fraternity and/or sorority events. Really? What did LB think was going to happen? Only 21 & older drink? LB is not the only one responsible though. At what point does the responsiblity get put back on the fraternity & sorority that is condoning & encouraging these activities? Start arresting a few presidents of the local chapters & I bet things will turn around.

(Report Comment)
Katherine Reed September 23, 2009 | 4:15 p.m.

This is Katherine Reed, public safety editor for The Missourian.

Les Bourgeois marketing director Rachel Mills sent out another news release shortly before noon today, elaborating on the winery's decision:
"We are deeply troubled by the alleged incidents and very concerned for the safety of our patrons. We are fully cooperating with the authorities and are deferring all question to them at this time. While we wait for all the facts to emerge, we have suspended all hosting of large after-hour events and are reviewing the steps we can take to maximize the safety of our patrons."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 23, 2009 | 4:46 p.m.

>>> reviewing the steps we can take to maximize the safety of our patrons <<<

How about enforcing the right of your business to Card anybody who looks under age for a start.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 23, 2009 | 5:09 p.m.

How do you know they didn't card the underage folks? It could be they had someone else's ID, for instance.

(Report Comment)
Anonymous . September 23, 2009 | 5:13 p.m.

In response to Sara Connor's comment:

Excuse me - arrest fraternity and sorority presidents? Parties at venues like these are out of the control of such presidents. I am currently president of my fraternity, and I find your comment offensive and ignorant. We cannot control who and who doesn't drink at these venues. I would think it would be more on the shoulders of the winery or any other third-party venues to step up and take more responsibility to crack down on underage drinking.

Please do your research before making comments like this. Thanks.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 23, 2009 | 5:57 p.m.

John Schultz you are so cutsie when you are acting so classy.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 23, 2009 | 6:41 p.m.

Chuck, is classy street slang for calling you on your assumptions? In that case, my good sir, please pass me my monocle and top hat.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 24, 2009 | 4:24 a.m.

John Schultz did ya ever think that maybe they should only allow consumption of any and all alcoholic beverages in one certain area of their facility.

If they do that now obviously there are doing a piss poor job of carding if underage drinking is going on at their facility.

You are so cute when you are being so naive. :)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 24, 2009 | 5:57 a.m.

Public drunkenness at wineries - and Les Bourgeois is only one of about 80 wineries in Missouri - may be news to the Missourian and the Tribune, but it's hardly real news. It's not news either that "over consumption" of wine isn't confined to under age drinkers. While some folks act disgustingly at the winery, the real problem can occur when they get in their automobiles and attempt to drive home.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 24, 2009 | 7:54 a.m.

Chuck, I'm a married man, so your flirtations will get you nowhere.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 24, 2009 | 9:00 a.m.

Ellis Smith maybe then the BCSD and the State Highway Patrol should establish more "Check Points" near these places that allow all of this public drunkenness to go on.

(Report Comment)
Erika Roberts September 24, 2009 | 10:58 a.m.

@ Anonymous Fraternity President

Doesn't it make sense that you would be in the group of people who knows who is a freshman or sophomore, who hasn't turned 21 yet and who shouldn't be there? It was my understanding that greek organizations spend a lot of time together and should know most people in their houses... Standing up to your friends is the hardest thing to do, but in this situation... man don't you wish those girls had been protected?

(Report Comment)
Anonymous . September 25, 2009 | 2:56 a.m.

Erika Roberts - it was an 18 and up party, so everyone who is 18 and above is allowed to be there. We also turn in a guest list.

People, please, research. Research. Research before you post.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2009 | 3:57 a.m.

Why are you even taking under age kids to a known place of alcoholic consumption when you obviously know those same under age kids could end up drinking at which point you can and should be arrested for contributing and that establishment be fined by the appropriate authoroties.

(Report Comment)
Anonymous . September 25, 2009 | 12:42 p.m.

Charles - the establishment would be fined. It's their responsibility to card appropriately and take fake IDs away. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF A THIRD PARTY VENDOR.

(Report Comment)
Rob Weir September 25, 2009 | 2:38 p.m.

Anonymous, and other folks who use fake names: Please be reminded that our comment policy (linked below) requires that your first and last name be associated with your posted comments. We do know who you are based on your registration and IP address.

Rob Weir
Director of digital development
The Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2009 | 8:41 p.m.

Rob Weir if they are using a fake name just remove them. :)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 25, 2009 | 9:00 p.m.

When Les Bourgeois' A Frame (their outdoor wine garden) opened at Noon on Friday, September 25th they were carding all customers buying wine. That's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't completely keep the wine out of under aged hands. Someone who is of legal age can buy bottles of wine and then give some or all of those bottles to other persons who are not of legal age, same as can be done if the sales outlet is a liquor store or a grocery store.

This suggests that some responsibility is needed on the part of buyers, even those who are fraternity presidents.

(Report Comment)

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