Former University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu, who harassed her Black former roommate and smeared bodily fluids on her belongings, not only faces a mere probation for her disgusting crime but may avoid a criminal record altogether.
Brochu rubbed her used tampons on Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe’s backpack and claimed to stick Rowe’s toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine” while the two roomed together at Hartford. As punishment, Brochu, who also avoided a hate crime charge, must perform 200 hours of community service, 50 of which will be completed at a literacy group and another 50 at a social services organization. Her mental health will also be evaluated.
If she completes the service hours and remains trouble-free for two years, the charges Brochu faced of breach of peace and criminal mischief will disappear after only two years.
Rowe attended the hearing and did not oppose accelerated rehab for Brochu, who was expelled from the school following the incident.
However, she called her former roommate’s actions “acts of hate” that left her traumatized.
“By giving her this second chance, I hope she will change her ways and finds love for all mankind no matter what race,” Rowe said at the hearing.
Brochu said her relationship with Rowe went south when Rowe started making fun of her and posted a video of her snoring on social media. Rowe eventually requested a roommate change, at which time Brochu took to Instagram to declare victory.
“Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/2 months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie,” Brochu wrote in a post.
Brochu later told police she exaggerated her behavior “to appear funny.” But smearing tampon blood on Rowe’s backpack was true, she said, and she admitted to licking Rowe’s utensils and plate.
Whatever Brochu’s actions were, they left Rowe frequently ill, suffering from a prolonged sore throat “to the point where I had extreme throat pain that I couldn’t sleep, to the point where I couldn’t speak,” she reported early on.
The University of Hartford has roughly 5,000 undergraduate students, which are 56 percent white, 16 percent Black, 12 percent Latino, 3 percent Asian and less than one percent Native American.
According to Judge Omar Williams, even if the charges are erased from Brochu’s record, the internet will continue to punish her long after the two years pass. The Hartford Courant reported:
“Friends, potential employers and even potential romantic partners will learn of Brochu’s conduct with a simple internet search, the judge said. Even her own children might one day learn about their mother’s misconduct.
“‘The internet has a long memory and you will have to do a lot of good to live down these allegations,’ he said. The judge urged Brochu to embrace diversity and the opportunity it gives one to grow, to not waste her opportunity at a second chance and to move forward. ‘You can let this case define you or bury it beneath your accomplishments,’ he said.”
Scot X. Esdaile, president of the state’s NAACP chapter, expressed disappointment when the hate crime charge was rejected and maintained this view after the hearing this week.
“There’s a system for white people and there’s a system for Black people,” he told the Hartford Courant. “That’s what we face every day.”