A full month after a pro-Bernie Sanders Democratic delegate reported a sexual assault at her hotel to authorities during the party's national convention, prosecutors have filed indecent assault charges against a 74-year-old delegate.
Gwen Snyder, who filed the assault complaint, celebrated the news on Facebook and Twitter after the DA’s office reversed their earlier position to not prosecute the case.
“Great news: @DASethWilliams' office has reversed their original position & will be prosecuting my sexual assault at the DNC,” she tweeted. “My assaulter is officially in custody. Thank you everyone for your support urging @DASethWilliams to prosecute my case--organizing works!”
The DA’s office confirmed in a statement that they had changed their position on the case after gathering more evidence.
“Based on what we later learned was an incomplete investigation, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) initially declined charges in this case,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “After further investigation by the DAO including a review of additional video and eyewitness testimony, the Office has charged Walter Weeks.”
Snyder claims that during the Democratic National Convention in Philly earlier this summer, she was in the Doubletree Hotel’s bar at around 2:30 a.m. on July 27 when she was assaulted by fellow Sanders-supporting Democratic delegate Weeks, 74, of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania.
“He thrust his face into my chest and forced his tongue just above my nipple. I yelled and pushed him away,” Snyder wrote in an online petition demanding Williams charge Weeks. “I was humiliated; I went to my room and cried. When I pulled myself together enough to speak, I came back down to the lobby to report what happened to other members of my delegation. Later that morning, I reported what happened to the police.”
However, prosecutors told her they chose not to file charges, Snyder wrote, because they believed Weeks may have been too intoxicated at the time for prosecutors to win a conviction.
“This is unacceptable. Alcohol cannot be a get-out-of jail-free card for sexual assault,” Snyder wrote.
Prosecutors said in a statement that they decided to file charges after uncovering new surveillance video evidence of the incident.
Weeks turned himself in to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit on Wednesday to face charges.