Former University Tutor Convicted of Rape

The PhD student has been sentenced to nine years.

PhD Student Fasil Demsash has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of rape by the York Crown Court in January.

It is believed that Demsash was on a leave of absence during the trial.

Students and staff within the Education Department had been emailed by the department head, Professor Paul Wakeling, about the student’s rape conviction at 14:01 today.

The email, although not mentioning him by name, stated that Demsash will have his registration at the University terminated.

The student’s former supervisor, Professor Vanita Sundaram, provided a comment in the email:

“I learned yesterday that a PhD student of mine has been convicted of rape, and this news has left me shocked and deeply upset … my first concern is for the brave survivor who has suffered severe harm and has come forward in this case under exceptionally difficult circumstances”.

“I stand in complete solidarity with her and she is very much in my thoughts. I also stand in unity with all survivors of sexual violence, and especially any others who might be affected by this case.”

As reported in the York Press, the victim contacted the police soon after the rape occurred in November 2018, and six months before the perpetrator ran in the 2019 York City Council Elections.

Detective Constable Alyson Thompson said after the case: “Demsash is a calculating and manipulative man who took advantage of his victim and who has since continued to use his influence to protest his innocence, showing no remorse for his crime”.

“The victim has been extremely brave by giving her evidence despite having to wait over two years for justice to be done. We hope she will now have some closure, allowing her to move on with her life.”

The education department announced they will be making a donation to Survive, a charity that offers specialist counselling across North Yorkshire to victims of sexual assault.

A University spokesperson provided another comment in the email:

“This was an appalling crime and our thoughts are with the victim who has shown remarkable bravery”.

“We urge students and staff who have any concerns about sexual violence, or have been affected by this case, to get in touch with us if they require further support or information.”

The link to the Universities Report and Support tool can be found here.

York Vision have emailed the Department for further comment.