GOP campaign aide avoids prison in drugging and rape of staffer — thanks to high-powered legal team
A former Republican campaign aide avoided prison for allegedly drugging and raping another student after an Election Night party.
Spencer Schneider had faced up to 25 years in state prison if found guilty as charged of third-degree rape, but instead he received a two-year suspended sentence and two years on probation after accepting a plea deal, reported The Times-Picayune.
The 23-year-old Schneider agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of obscenity, which can eventually be expunged from his record, and a misdemeanor count of sexual battery, which cannot.
Neither charge requires Schneider to register as a sex offender.
Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman imposed the sentence Sept. 18 after prosecutors assured her the victim had no opposition to the plea agreement, which was reached with the help of a high-profile, out-of-town lawyer.
The accuser told The Times-Picayune that she accepted the outcome, although she was disappointed.
“Although two years’ probation and an obscenity felony is a far cry from what I think would be just, as he deserved to be convicted of rape and registered as a sex offender, I do believe that this was the best that could be done,” the woman said. “In today’s climate, college rapists are rarely even indicted. I am grateful for any sort of conviction.”
Both Schneider and the victim were Tulane University students who worked with staffers and volunteers on the gubernatorial campaign of former Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican.
They went out drinking after Vitter lost Nov. 21, 2015, to Democrat John Bel Edwards, and the woman said she blacked out while sitting at a bar and believes she was drugged.
The accuser told police three days later that Schneider had made “romantic advances” toward her in the past, but she refused because she was in a relationship with someone else.
The woman told police she woke up at her apartment the morning of Nov. 21, and both she and Schneider were lying nude in bed.
“The victim stated she was in a lot of pain,” the police report said. “When she asked Schneider what happened between them, he mentioned, ‘We had sex!'”
The woman said she would not have consented because she was in a relationship, and because she would have insisted on using contraception — which she said Schneider had not.
Schneider, whose father David K. Schneider is a partner and co-founder of the San Diego-based civil law firm Yunker and Schneider, was indicted three weeks later, on Dec. 8, 2015.
He hired Colorado-based attorney Lisa Wayne, who specializes in high-profile sex cases, to assist New Orleans attorney Billy Gibbens in his defense.