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Reported rape in Ohio State residence hall leads to University Police public safety notice

The investigation of a reported rape in an Ohio State residence hall led University Police to issue a public safety notice Friday.

Recent information about the rape, which allegedly happened in “the early morning hours” of Jan. 25, and the suspect – who reportedly returned to the residence hall – caused police officers to believe there is a “continuing threat,” the notice read.

The suspect was described by witnesses as a black man with a “wide” build, between 18 and 20 years old and standing between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 9 inches. He has short, black hair and a lighter, pockmarked complexion, with scars “over most of his face,” including a possible scar over an eyebrow, and was last seen wearing a Cincinnati Bengals sweatshirt, according to the notice.

It is unknown whether the suspect is an OSU affiliate, University Police Chief Paul Denton said Friday. The suspect’s return to the residence hall was not this week, but Denton said the forensics reports from the initial incident came back this week, which was partly what led to the decision to release a public safety notice.

He said the residence hall staff is “on board and aware” of the investigation.

Denton added that sexual assault is an issue University Police takes seriously.

“We want to be very certain before we put out information,” he said. “We have to establish the facts of what happened before sending out a public safety notice … (The) facts to the best of our knowledge.”

The notice advised anyone with information about the suspect to contact University Police.

The case is still being actively investigated as part of “a wide-ranging and in-depth criminal investigation,” the notice said.

University spokesman Doug Haddix said signs will be posted on residence hall buildings.

“University Housing staff are reminding residents to exercise caution and follow building access policies. Signage is being posted at hall entrances and resident advisers are communicating directly with students on their floors,” Haddix said in an emailed university statement. “In addition to our highly trained law enforcement officials, the university’s residence hall staff and other staff members are trained to recognize, identify and respond to signs of sexual harassment and assault.”

The statement also included the resources available for students who have been sexually assaulted.

“When an incident is reported, the Ohio State Police Division immediately begins a rigorous investigation,” Haddix said. “(Students) are encouraged to report cases of sexual harassment and assault and to take action if they have reason to believe someone else is being or has been assaulted. Survivors of sexual assault are provided a wide variety of support and services including Student Life’s counseling, advocacy, wellness and health services, the Sexual Violence Education and Support team and financial assistance through the Sexual Violence Assistance Fund.”

Five rapes have been reported on OSU’s campus since the start of the academic year, all of which are listed as “investigation pending” on the University Police daily log.

About 237,870 people are sexually assaulted each year in the U.S., according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network website.


  1. Thank god the police are focusing on keeping people from stealing food from the Union

  2. >Thank god the police are focusing on keeping people from stealing food from the Union

    Let’s consider the frequency and hours of theft from the Union market and the frequency and hours of reported rape.

  3. So, how come we hear about this until nearly a month after-the-fact?

  4. That is, how come we *don’t* hear about this until nearly a month after-the-fact?

  5. As a female student, I’m pretty pissed that I only get a safety notification about a rape if the rapist returns to the scene of the crime. I think all five of the rapes that have been reported this year merit their own public safety notice. Way to make a girl feel safe OSU.

  6. We did hear about it when it happened, the lantern didn’t pick it up then. Also, why would rape ever not take priority over petty theft?

  7. So a student was raped in her dorm room by an intruder? and he’s come back to said residence hall since then? tell me more about how you’re protecting students.

  8. You all forget that people need time to report things to the police. It takes time to decide if you are go to the police or not, sexual assault is a traumatic experience that needs self processing. There are social fears, and self blaming and fears of being called a liar, not being believed, fear of family/friend disappointment or fear of the other person retaliating. When someone is assaulted the last thing most survivors want is everyone knowing their business or that it was them when it’s going to hit the news. I applaud this survivor for stepping forward! If there was mishandling or covering things up you better believe the survivor or those close to the survivor would blow the whistle on that.

  9. Shame the college violated the victim’s right to bear arms. They should be held accountable for every incident that could have been averted by an armed student.

  10. Oh yes, just what we need. A bunch of drunk students in the res halls with guns…

  11. Alex, I’m a supporter of concealed carry, and would support “campus carry” as well. However, in Ohio we only have Concealed Carry Licenses for handguns, and most students in dorms would not be old enough to earn one (21). Also, the nature of dorm life may also present some peculiar problems which would make “dorm carry” a bit dicy, especially if one were of age in a dorm that houses mainly younger students. That being said, most arguments against “campus carry” do not make reference to the places where it has been allowed for years (Utah and a few other colleges in other states).

    Now for the first “anon.” “Drunk students in the res halls with guns” is not supported by the experiences in the real world. See above. In fact, last I heard, no students at one (or more?) of the Utah universities have availed themselves of the dorms that were designated for them. If there are stories of legal “campus carriers” getting drunk and shooting up campus, please post them, by all means!

    Second “anon.” Your link goes to an article referencing mainly public health journal “studies.” Dr. Arthur “Bodycount” Kellerman and his buddies are well known for their inability to accurately moonlight as criminologists. Check out Dr. Gary Kleck’s chapter in “Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control” examining in detail the many faults in health journals, which apparently continues to this day.

    The criminology of weapons and violence began in earnest with Wright and Rossi in the eighties and continued with Kleck and others later on. There are many variables involved and if one does not understand all the pitfalls, one can come away “impressed” with any particular journal article. Unfortunately, it ain’t that simple. Familiarization with all the literature in this area will often raise more questions than it answers, especially for those who think more firearms restrictions are “the answer.”

    “Women in abusive relationships and guns” or “acquaintance rape and guns” are not subjects to be dismissed with a few sentences or an article link.

    In this case, I see no reason to disbelieve OSU-PD’s evaluation of the situation. Like “guns on campus, “rape on campus” is not a subject to be discussed lightly or with only partial or ASSumed information.

    Why was this case treated as such, over a long amount of time? What exactly is the relationship between suspect and survivor? We don’t know, and perhaps the police don’t either. The questions are certainly legitimate, however. Complaints may be legitimate as well, and should be addressed to the proper authorities.

    One more thing: Please think about how the rape survivor might feel and consider your postings carefully in that light.

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