Platte County High School student Dakota Cochran received a sentence of eight years in prison for raping a 14-year-old fellow student. The 17-year-old received the sentence in Platte County Circuit Court on Friday, July 7 after pleading guilty to a felony count of first degree rape and a misdemeanor count of second degree child molestation.
Authorities were made aware of the situation in late March after responding to Children’s Mercy Hospital to reports of a teenager who said she had been raped. During the investigation, Cochran had claimed that the act was consensual.
Cochran admitted that he drove the girl to a deserted parking lot in rural Platte County believed to be near the Platte River. Once there, he parked the car and asked the girl to “make out.”
According to the victim, she said no, but Cochran forced himself on top of the girl. Cochran reportedly raped the victim in the back seat of his car, as she continued to struggle and say no.
In an interview with police during the investigation, the victim claimed to have no recollection of how she ended up in the back seat, saying fear might have caused her to black out.
“I cannot say it often enough: Sex without consent is rape. Period,” Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. “This defendant’s age does not excuse his crime. He has learned a hard lesson. He will continue to learn that lesson for the next eight years and then beyond as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.”
Cochran later sent the victim a picture of a pair of his boxers stained with blood.
When investigators asked Cochran about the picture, he said he thought it was funny because the victim had been a virgin.
Following the assault, Cochran drove the victim to her friend’s house. The girl immediately told her friend that Cochran had raped her. The friend claimed that she had experienced a similar situation with Cochran earlier that month.
Three days later, a sexual assault examination at Children’s Mercy corroborated the victim’s account, revealing “significant evidence of penetrating trauma.”
“I am incredibly proud of the victim in this case,” Zahnd said. “She is a courageous young woman who stood up to her rapist by coming forward. Her courage will help protect other young women.”
Court documents from the investigation revealed details of what Cochran called a consensual sexual encounter. During the investigation, he asked officers, “If I raped her, why did she wait two days to report it?”
Further investigation by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department revealed three other high-school aged females who said Cochran had committed unwanted sexual acts against them. A search of Cochran’s phone turned up a sexual “hit list” which included names of females and sexual acts he had allegedly done with them. He told officers when questioned about it, that all of his friends have one so he had to have one, too.
While the case was pending, another high school student reportedly harassed the victim online, accusing her of lying about the rape. Other male students also harassed anyone who supported the victim, making it difficult for the victim to go to school. Her mother testified at the sentencing that school administrators had found her daughter crying in a closet at school.
“To those young men who berated the victim, I say this: Your actions have caused additional harm to the victim of a despicable crime,” Zahnd said. “We cannot tolerate a culture that blames rape victims.”
Members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, an international non-profit group that seeks to empower young victims, attended the sentencing to support the victim.