On Sexual Assault At Jagoe House

Content Warning: This article describes sexual assault. 

The Jagoe House, a local house show venue, has decided to cease future show operations. In addition to the fact that the four main show organizers had ended their run with the venue over the summer, reports of multiple sexual assaults surfaced this week. 

“No more shows at Jagoe,” Adam Selby, former Jagoe House show organizer said in a Facebook message to The Dentonite owner Sara Button. “We felt like we were doing something good for Denton and felt we were doing a good job on everything and that we could hand it off to some people younger than us who wanted to keep it going.”

“Hagen [Hauschild], Jackson [Russo], Andy [Marin], and I decided early in the summer to end our run at Jagoe with JagoeFest 3,” Selby said. 

The four had been at the helm of Jagoe House since 2013. 

“Ryan [Gordon] was taking charge as the main person running shows from then on. Our last regular show was September 1st, which was the charity show for the Houston Food Bank,” Selby said.

Gordon ran two shows at Jagoe House in 2017 with no shows planned for the future. They also dropped Band Together Denton earlier this week due to miscommunication between housemates, according to Gordon. 

The September 15th show that a 20-year-old Grapevine resident, Hannah Israel, attended was not only her first show at the venue, but also the first show organized by the venues final show organizer, Gordon. 

On October 24, 2017, Israel tweeted about her night at Jagoe House.

“I remember enough of the night to know what happened,” Israel told The Dentonite. “My friend said that he was letting me drink out of this cup that he had, but wouldn’t let her drink out of it. She never saw him drink out of it. He took me to his car that was parked outside and we had sex. My friend said I had disappeared and she called me and I was with him, that he made me hang up the phone. Then when I came back I told her I had sex,” Israel said.

When she got back to the car, Israel’s friend said she wasn't acting drunk, but was acting like she had been drugged or that something was wrong.

“The next day I was looking through my phone, trying to piece the night together and my friend told me I had sex and I didn’t remember it,” Israel said. “I remember bits and pieces of it, but as we started talking, I started remembering it and I freaked out. I went to take a shower and my underwear was ripped and I had bruises all over my legs. I was bleeding and had a huge bump on the back of my head,” she said. 

Israel called a family friend who works at a neighboring police department who explained to her that what happened to her was rape and that she should report it to the Denton Police Department.

The next day, Israel called the Denton Police Department and went in for a rape kit. She said neither her nor her friend told anyone at the show what happened. After filing the police report, Israel said she was asked to not communicate with the Jagoe House.

In October, about a month after her reported attack, Israel said she was assigned a detective, Steve Buchanan. According to Israel, the detective told her she didn’t have enough information when they finally called her on November 17. She had her alleged attacker’s description, first name, and the description of his car. She reached out to some friends and they helped her find his license plate number and address. Israel then gave the information to Buchanan. 

“The detective told me that if he [her alleged attacker] said it was consensual, they would go off of his word,” Israel said. “When they went to talk to him, they couldn’t arrest him because he told them it was consensual.”

“I do not remember consenting. I remember being really confused the entire time, why I was there, I didn’t fully understand what was happening,” Israel said.

After interviewing her alleged rapist, Buchanan called Israel. 

“It was the most disrespectful call I’ve ever received,” she said. “He told me that in the eyes of the law, that I chose to go to a party and chose to drink as much as I did and from the evidence he saw, it seemed liked it was my decision and that I made a bad decision that I regretted and that the DA would probably not see it as sexual assault because I chose to drink as much as I did. Considering the only reason I reported it was because a detective friend of mine told me to. This felt like a slap in the face from the Denton Police Department.” 

So, she went to Twitter to tell her story. 

“Through that [Twitter], the police department saw it and the Sergeant of this detective called me and my mom and defended his officer,” Israel said. 

Israel was unable to recall the name of the Sergeant.

“This sounded a whole lot, from witnesses, that this was probably consensual,” Shane Kizer, the Denton Police Department Public Information Officer said. “This case was referred to the DA’s office and hasn’t been presented to a grand jury yet.”

Israel said the Sergeant never apologized to her for how disrespectful his detective was to her or for the tone of voice he took with her. 

“He just defended what his detective said,” Israel said. 

A friend encouraged Israel to post her incident in a private group on Facebook.

“I posted what I posted on Twitter in there.” Israel said. “When you post in private groups you can see who reads it, and I could see that a person who ran Jagoe House saw it and read it. They didn’t reach out to me.”

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Jagoe House’s most recent show organizer, Ryan Gordon, explained how he handled seeing the post.

“I was initially made aware of a single sexual assault that had happened at a Jagoe show in a Facebook group called Denton DIY on October 31st,” Gordon said. “I told my roommate and initially we did not know how to handle the terrible and delicate situation. Eventually, before I could bring it up with the rest of the people who run Jagoe, everybody else that ran Jagoe heard about the sexual assault via Twitter.” 

Selby confirmed to The Dentonite that the four former organizers saw the tweet after the last show was held on November 10th.

“The rest of the people who ran Jagoe at the time, found out and discussed the issue separately as we had all collectively failed to meet as a full group to discuss the matter,” Gordon said. “My roommates and I discussed that we would have a female friend unassociated with the venue reach out to the victim of this sexual assault to figure out what she felt could be done by the venue to help. [The plan] fell through due to miscommunication in assuming who was going to take up the responsibility in reaching out.”

Andy Marin, a former Jagoe House show organizer, reached out to Israel via text message to apologize on January 2 after the show organizers admitted to knowing about her allegations in November via her Tweet from October. 

Israel said she received numerous messages from people who claimed to have been assaulted at Jagoe House since her post.

“I thought it was just me, maybe I was making a big deal and making Jagoe out to be the bad guy and it was just me that it happened to and it was an unlucky situation,” Israel said. “As I got more people talking to me and saying it had happened to them, too, and that they are too scared to speak out because Jagoe is the biggest house show venue, the oldest house show venue. When you think of Denton House shows, one of the first houses you think about is Jagoe. They are so afraid to speak out on them because that’s the scene.”

In a statement made to The Dentonite, The Jagoe House said:

“Shortly after the last show hosted at Jagoe (November 10, 2017) we found a tweet referencing Jagoe where a victim went public about sexual assault at Jagoe.

“This tweet was from two weeks prior (October 24, 2017), and was the first we’d heard of sexual assault at Jagoe. After this discovery, we felt horrible for what had happened. As the original team behind Jagoe — who had stepped down over the summer with a final show commitment of JagoeFest in mid-October — we promptly became involved again. We spoke with the people who had just taken over running Jagoe shows about the tweet. We felt that the concerns were well-received and would be addressed. As this was the only report of sexual assault that we were aware of, we believed that this was an isolated incident and focused on reacting to it as a singular issue rather than a larger issue. 

“That was a mistake. Although there have been no shows after that discovery, there have been more accounts of prior sexual assault that have become public since. While we are unfamiliar with the details of each instance, we believe every victim and know that we should have done more with the small part of the picture that we discovered. However, we didn’t and we’re deeply disappointed in ourselves for not doing more at the time.”

They made a full statement on their Facebook page on January 3, 2018. 

An anonymous survivor, who also happened to be a minor during their incidents, reached out to The Dentonite and told us that they had been sexually harassed and assaulted at Jagoe House multiple times over the past two years. 

“I kept going back to Jagoe because for the longest time it was the easiest venue to go to while I was under 21,” they said. “It was right off campus, it was popular, and I could easily drink and smoke there without worrying about the cops. After I started hearing about other venues, I stopped going to Jagoe. Sure, it’s very organized and convenient, but I’d rather give that up and go somewhere out of the way where I feel safer.

“I never thought about talking to the staff or reporting them because I felt so much guilt and shame. I was a minor at the time and I was drinking, I was afraid I was going to get in trouble or blamed,” they said.

After this incident, they said they continued to go to shows at The Jagoe House only to experience more harassment. 

“One time I was groped inside while other people stood around and watched, no one said anything,” they said. “It’s like that’s the culture there - mind your own business, and if you do happen to get abused, well tough luck. Another time, some guy wanted me to give him my number and put his hand up my skirt,” they said. “When I politely declined, he called me an ugly bitch. Those are just a couple of the incidents. It’s exhausting to get into others.”

The Denton Police Department’s Public Information Office Shane Kizer said that underage people should not be worried about reporting sexual assault or other violent crimes if they have been drinking. “We wouldn’t file charges for underage drinking in those cases,” Kizer said. The police department is more concerned with higher crime taking place. 

Kizer also provided The Dentonite a list of reported incidents that happened at the Jagoe House since 2014:

  • November 2014, hit and run.
  • January 2015, intoxicated person.
  • October 2015, music disturbance.
  • February 2016, intoxicated person.
  • March 2016, other disturbance. “Probably people arguing,” Kizer said.

Kizer searched The Jagoe House address and said only the crimes above were associated with that address. No mention of sexual assault or harassment.

As far as the DAM Awards are concerned and our decision earlier this week to remove The Jagoe House from our ballot, we had enough evidence to make our decision at the time and we stand behind that decision. 

We did contact a Jagoe House show organizer prior to making the statement on Facebook, although the message was not read before our statement published. We could have waited longer to get ahold of them before releasing a statement but decided based on the information received that we were confident with our choice in posting.

We are not condemning house show venues or The Jagoe House specifically, or any of the show organizers or persons involved. We are condemning sexual assault and bringing light to a topic that is often overlooked. This is something that happens in our community and we need to do something about it. 

This story is still developing, as we’ve received additional reports about sexual assault at The Jagoe House and are working on taking the time to properly speak with each survivor. 

If you are a survivor of rape or sexual assault, consider contacting the Denton Police Department (or your town’s police department) if you have not already and file a report. 

There are also plenty of other resources readily available to survivors: 

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
(800) 656-4673

Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center
(972) 641-7273

Denton Police Department
(940) 349-8181

Additional research and help provided for this article by Kristen Watson and Mateo Granados
Header image design by Christopher Rodgers
Header image by Garrett Smith