Public safety receives more reports of sexual assault

An officer stands next to a public safety car. (Elizabeth Lucy ’15)

Four reports of sexual violence have been reported to public safety in the last two weeks.

An alleged rape and alleged sexual assault were both reported in the crime log last week, both of which occurred in fall of 2015. This week, two more incidents of sexual violence were reported by Lafayette College Public Safety in the crime log.

One of these incidents was an alleged rape that occurred this semester on Sep. 15 in Kirby House, reported by an employee on Sep. 30. The identities of both the employee who reported and of the alleged victim are unknown to The Lafayette.

The other report was of an alleged sexual assault. An unknown third party reported the incident at 4 a.m. on Oct. 2, according to the crime log. The date, time and general location of the alleged assault are unknown to public safety.

The college’s Title IX Coordinator Amy O’Neill was the reporter of the alleged sexual assault and alleged rape which occurred in fall of 2015. She was required to inform public safety of the date, time and general location of each incident when they were reported to her. However, she said she has not told public safety all the information she knows about the incidents.

O’Neill would not comment on whether or not she was the reporter of the alleged sexual assault and alleged rape in this week’s crime log.

Troxell said that although the investigations cannot go forward without more information about the alleged incidents, O’Neill is not obstructing the investigation.

“We’re trying to comply with the law, help the victim and get to the bottom of this,” Troxell said. The most important thing in these cases is that the victims feel comfortable coming forward, he added.

“It can be very difficult to do an investigation on something when you have no leads and no information,” Troxell said. “But it’s the right of the victim. They want time. They want space.”

Troxell said public safety has not been in contact with the victims.

“I give public safety everything that I am required to give them based on the assessment of safety and my responsibility as Title IX Coordinator,” O’Neill said.

In the last three years, the number of rapes on campus has increased, according to public safety’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. In 2015, eight rapes were reported on campus. That was up from six reported in 2014, and four in 2013.

O’Neill said that that the increase in reported incidents is a good thing because most victims of sexual assault remain silent.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), two out of every three sexual assaults in the U.S. go unreported, and four out of five college-aged female victims do not report their sexual assault to the police.

O’Neill added that she hopes the four alleged sexual violence crimes reported are indicative of a growing change in the climate surrounding sexual violence on campus.

“I’ve been here for a year, so people are starting to recognize who I am,” O’Neill said. “I think that people are just learning that I am a resource for any issue relating to [sexual misconduct].”

 

About Kathryn Kelly

Kathryn Kelly '19 is the editor-in-chief of The Lafayette. She studies government & law and Classics.

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