Sexual assault reports reach seven for school year

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

Early last Sunday morning, the seventh reported sexual assault of this school year allegedly occurred and was immediately reported by a campus security authority (CSA).

All that is known to public safety about the location is that it occurred on campus. The date and time the alleged assault was reported and occurred are the same, on Sunday at 2:26 a.m. At that time, a call came into the public safety office from the CSA, Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell said.

The complainant, who Troxell confirmed is a student, declined to file a criminal complaint and so the investigation is being handled through Title IX coordinator Amy O’Neill’s office. O’Neill could not be reached for comment in time for print, but wrote in a past email to The Lafayette that she could not divulge any information specific to an investigation.

Troxell said he could not reveal the identity of the CSA who reported the incident, but described CSAs as “anybody that supervises or is around students on an active basis, or is an employee of campus that has a responsibility to the students,” such as residential advisors, coaches, most of the faculty and all of public safety.

Even though there is no criminal complaint, the investigation into the assault remains active but “stalled,” Troxell said, since public safety has such little information to go off of.

Troxell said that the situation did not require a Jeanne Clery notification alerting the campus to an immediate threat, since the complainant was assaulted by someone he or she knew.

“It was someone [he or she] knew,” he said. “It wasn’t a stranger.”

When a third party or victim reports an incident to public safety, they are presented with their options moving forward, which include going through with a Title IX investigation and/or filing a criminal complaint with public safety.

“We encourage that they file a criminal complaint, and, at this point, [the complainant hasn’t],” he added.

Troxell said that the number of sexual assaults reported to date is striking at seven but remains a good sign of victims feeling comfortable coming forward and trusting public safety and the Title IX office.

“When someone gets sexually assaulted, one thing we’d hope they would do is come forward,” he said. “We encourage them to file a criminal complaint. We want to pursue the investigation.”

Since this particular complainant did not file a criminal complaint, Troxell said it is unknown to public safety what route this investigation will take after they pass on the information they have to Title IX.

About Kathryn Kelly

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

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