3 sex crimes reported in Park-Stradley this semester
Published: Monday, November 26, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012 22:11
Another rape was reported last week in Park-Stradley Hall, adding to the growing list of alleged sex crimes committed in the new residence hall.
The rape, reported early morning Wednesday, marks the third sex crime to be reported in Park-Stradley this semester. A rape was previously reported in Park-Stradley on Oct. 12, and a gross sexual imposition was reported on Nov. 4. According to the University Police log, the investigation is pending in all three cases.
There was also a rape reported on Sept. 9 in Morrill Tower that is now listed as “case closed” and a rape reported in the Neil Avenue Building on Nov. 10 that still has a pending investigation, according to the police log.
The Ohio Revised Code defines rape as “without privilege to do so, the insertion … of any part of the body or any instrument … into the vaginal or anal opening of another” and a gross sexual imposition as “any touching of an erogenous zone of another … for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person” without proper consent of the victim.
The Wednesday report was the second of the three Park-Stradley crimes reports to include that the suspect had allegedly consumed alcohol before the offense occurred.
OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs did not specifically comment on the repeating location of the crimes or the individual crimes themselves.
“There’s not much I can say,” Isaacs said. “The university takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously … We have extensive programs of support for (victims), we also have extensive offerings in self-protection (defense) and prevention.”
The victim and the suspect in the Nov. 21 case appear to have been “casually acquainted,” said University Police Chief Paul Denton. However, he said that the sex crimes do not appear to be a threat to the OSU campus community, which is why there haven’t been any public safety notices issued.
“In these cases when you have a known offender and a known suspect and we are confident that action is or has been taken through the Student Conduct process, plus in respect to the privacy and sensitivity of this type of offense to the reporting party, the survivor (victim), we weigh all of those circumstances into the decision of whether to or not to issue a public safety notice,” Denton said.
Because of the privacy provided for students over 18 years of age by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Denton and Isaacs were unable to say whether disciplinary action has been taken by Student Conduct in any of the three cases.
A dorm liaison program exists between University Police and the on-campus OSU residence halls that assigns one officer to each building. Those officers would be the ones to talk to the students about these crimes if the officers were invited to a meeting by a residence hall, Denton said.
Meanwhile, many Park-Stradley residents are still largely unaware of the crimes that have been reported there.
“I didn’t know about it so it’s kind of a shock but … they should probably inform us,” said Conor McCarthy, a first-year in finance. “It worries me that it’s happening in this building.”
McCarthy said he thinks police should look at why these crimes have been reported in Park-Stradley.
“They’re (reported sex crimes) all concentrated in this area, rather than other places … This building holds a lot of students so you do have to look at that, but at the same time that’s a lot for one building,” McCarthy said. “So I think (we’ve got to) try and figure out what’s going on.”
Other residents said they are nervous that the crimes are increasing.
“It actually really freaks me out, the fact that there are so many sex crimes and rapes going on. I don’t feel like the people here are aware of that,” said Sam Schoeppner, a first-year in psychology.
Schoeppner said she thinks awareness is the most important step forward.
“I think they need to get the awareness out. I think that’s definitely important because if more people know about it, hopefully they can better protect themselves,” she said.
Paul Wojdacz, the Park-Stradley hall director whose contact information was listed on two of the reports, referred The Lantern to Isaacs for comment. An email to a male Park-Stradley resident listed on the Wednesday report was not returned.