A white former Connecticut university student accused of smearing body fluids on her black Jamaican-American roommate’s belongings has been allowed into a probation programme that could result in criminal charges being erased from her record.
A state judge in Hartford on Monday granted 18-year-old Brianna Brochu’s request for accelerated rehabilitation. Misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace charges will be erased if she successfully completes two years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
Police said the former University of Hartford student wrote on Instagram in October about rubbing used tampons on her roommate’s backpack and putting her roommate’s toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine.” She also called her roommate “Jamaican Barbie,” and wrote that she put moldy clam dip in her roommate’s lotions and spit in her coconut oil, police said.
Her roommate, Chennel Rowe, said she developed throat pain. Rowe attended the court hearing and did not oppose the probation program request Monday, saying she hoped Brochu would “change her ways.”
Civil rights advocates called for hate crime charges. State NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile called it “blatant racism,” but Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy said there was no evidence of hate crimes.
Brochu’s attorney, Tom Stevens, has said Brochu and Rowe had a falling out and Brochu’s actions were not racially motivated. Both women had asked school officials for a change in roommates.
Stevens apologized on Brochu’s behalf Monday. He said Brochu wanted to apologize sooner, but he advised her not to because of a potential civil lawsuit.
Brochu, of Harwinton, had told police her actions were in retaliation for Rowe’s “rude behavior” and Rowe posting videos of her sleeping and making fun of her snoring.
Brochu also told authorities that she did put tampon blood on Rowe’s backpack and licked Rowe’s plate, fork and spoon, but denied doing anything else. She said she lied in the Instagram post in an attempt to “appear funny,” a police report said.