Dean investigating sexual assault

Wednesday night, the University Police Department received a call regarding the possible sexual assault of a student on campus.

According to UPD reports, this is the second sexual assault reported on campus this semester.

The female student involved in this week’s investigation, who wishes to remain anonymous, came to The Chart at about 3 p.m. Wednesday to report that a male student raped her on the night of Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The students had met previously at on-campus events, forging a friendship that resulted in continued contact leading up to the night in question.

“I had gone to bed [the night of Aug. 21] and he [the suspect] texted me asking if I wanted to do stuff with him,” she said. “And I didn’t reply because I was asleep. Well then he called me and then he called me again, and then I answered. And he asked me to come pick him up [because he had become intoxicated at a party], and I was like ‘Well, I’ll think about it, I don’t know,’ then I was like ‘Well I guess I’ll be a good friend,’ so I went and picked him up.”

The student said that when she picked the suspect up, he smelled of alcohol and struggled to walk, so she planned to help him back to his residence hall, but was unable to do so because it was after the specified time that women are allowed in that hall.

Instead, the female student said she would allow him to sleep on the couch in her residence hall.

“He went into my room; he was supposed to sleep on the couch,” she said.

“So I was just like ‘Whatever, I’ll sleep on my own couch,’ and he came out and bugged me and stuff … So I told him to go back to bed, and he did.

“So I went in there [the bedroom] to get a blanket and stuff, and he had pulled me onto the bed and I was just like ‘No, no, no,’ I kept saying ‘No,’ and he ended up flipping me over and getting on top.”

The student said the suspect proceeded to rape her, covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming.

Because of the emotional trauma of the incident, the female student did not initially report it to campus police, but did inform Residence Assistant Jordan Baker at approximately 11:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, 11 days later.

“I got a text from one of her friends saying I needed to call her, so I went ahead and called her,” Baker said. “It was at, I guess, 11:15 [p.m.] I called her, Saturday night.

“That’s the first I knew about it, and then it was probably, I talked to her for maybe five minutes, she told me what had happened and then I called my RD [Residence Director] Sam Quackenbush at 11:20.”

Repeated attempts to reach Quackenbush were unsuccessful Thursday morning, but Dean of Students Ron Mitchell said he had been made aware of the situation via email on Sunday, Sept. 2.

“We are aware of an incident and we have addressed the issue,” Mitchell said. “We are currently investigating and we’re coming to an outcome pretty quick.”

In addition to Mitchell being made aware of the situation, Quackenbush called the UPD at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Two officers proceeded to investigate the incident, speaking to both students and other persons of interest.

The female student decided she did not wish to press charges against the suspect, saying she “couldn’t handle” testifying openly in court against him, because she thought she would be ridiculed and embarrassed.

According to a police report obtained by The Chart, the campus officers approached the suspect Wednesday night, informing him that the female student did not wish to press charges and instructing him to refrain from contacting her in any way, directly or indirectly.

“What it becomes is a student conduct issue [because the female student did not wish to press charges],” Mitchell said.

“And a student conduct issue, we investigate thoroughly and make the decision based on the information we have. [The investigation] is ongoing.

“Typically, if we have a situation where there is more than one person involved, we interview the people who are involved.

“I take into account the police report, but I also do my own internal investigation, the Dean of Students or the student conduct office does it’s own internal investigation.”

A decision from the student conduct office is expected to come soon.

The Chart will continue to follow the development of this story and unconfirmed reports of another sexual assault off campus involving two students, allegedly occuring Wednesday night.