Campus notified of sixth sexual assault this school year

Sara Bertsch Editor-in-Chief

Students and faculty were notified Thursday of an on-campus sexual assault that reportedly occurred on Feb. 24. 2016.

The victim was female, according to the timely warning sent to all students. It states the victim was forcibly fondled by a male student at his on-campus residence. The male student no longer lives on campus.

The email also states that before the incident took place, the suspect provided misleading information to the victim by claiming certification to practice.

In the timely warning provided to all students, it said that the victim knew the suspect.

The victim was manipulated by the suspect, according to Don Challis, assistant vice president for safety and security.

The University Police Department was first notified on Tuesday. They, along with the Title IX office, began investigating before the timely warning was sent on Thursday.

“We want people to be aware and trust their instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, stop and get out,” Challis said. “This is one of the cases when alcohol was not a factor.”

The suspect portrayed himself in a professional way, coercing the female victim to believe it was OK, according to Challis.

“She realized that it clearly wasn’t,” he said.

This is the first reported sexual assault of the spring semester. Last fall, campus was notified of five reports of sexual assault.

The timely warning was sent out in a campus-wide email, which is required by the Jeanne Clery Act. The act requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime reported on and around campus.

A timely warning is issued after the incident has already occurred. It contains information about the incident and how to prevent and avoid similar situations in the future.

The Clery Act requires the information be issued as soon as the pertinent details are available. Once all of the facts of a criminal incident have been found, the warning will be sent out.

UPD can be contacted by dialing 111 from a campus phone or 911 from a cellular phone. The UPD non-emergency number is 688-5117.