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Rice Officials Apologize For Handling Of Alleged Sexual Assault Case, Capital Murder Charge In Sheriff’s Deputy Death, And New Bus Routes As Part Of Harvey Recovery

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Monday, September 30, 2019

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Students placed copies of the opinion piece from The Thresher around the university’s William Marsh Rice statue.

Rice Officials Apologize For Handling Of Alleged Sexual Assault Case

In an anonymous opinion piece published Tuesday in the student newspaper, The Rice Thresher, a recent Rice University graduate said the university awarded another student a degree, even after finding credible allegations that he sexually assaulted her. On Friday evening, the university sent out an apology, saying their decision to award the degree was a mistake — and in the future, they’re changing the way they handle these cases.

The anonymous woman who wrote the piece spoke with Houston Public Media about her experience reporting the sexual assault case to the school, and the aftermath of the school’s decision in the case. We’re not identifying the woman, but we’ve verified information about her case. She said Rice officials took six months to complete the investigation into her reported sexual assault. 

Rice officials told Houston Public Media in a statement Wednesday that the university imposed significant sanctions against the student, but that he had amassed enough credits to graduate when the sanctions were imposed. But a letter to the woman from Rice officials showed those sanctions didn’t go into effect for several weeks.

You can read the complete web story by Houston Public Media’s Jen Rice here.

Robert Solis, 47, has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

Capital Murder Charge In Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Death

A Houston man was charged Friday with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop near Houston.

Robert Solis, 47, was charged in the Friday shooting death of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

Solis was wanted for 2017 parole violations for assault and possession of a prohibited weapon. He’s been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Dhaliwal, 42, was shot from behind during the traffic stop, which happened in a residential cul-de-sac near Houston. Dhaliwal was a father of three.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the funeral for Deputy Dhaliwal will be held Wednesday at the Berry Center in Cypress, near Houston.

Rafael and Silvia Casas tour the wreckage of their family home near the San Jacinto River in Crosby, Texas, in Sept. 2017. The neighborhood was completely destroyed by Harvey’s flood waters.

New Bus Routes As Part Of Harvey Recovery

While Imelda’s deluge may be fresh in everyone’s minds, there are many residents of east Harris County who are still working to get back on their feet after Hurricane Harvey two years ago.

To help people who still lack transportation, Harris County Transit is setting up five new fixed routes. Those routes will cover hard-hit areas north of I-10 including Channelview, Cloverleaf and Shelton. Parts of Crosby are also getting service.

One route is a circulator between Cloverleaf and Crosby that provides connections to Baytown bus routes. Riders can also connect to METRO routes to get to downtown Houston.

Harris County Transit’s David Jones pointed out that thousands of vehicles were lost during Harvey and many still haven’t been replaced.

Jones said the service will be funded through federal disaster relief funds. The cost for the three-year operating period is just under $4 million. Jones said they’ll initially run 21-passenger buses with low floors and ramps.

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