Ohio State police: 'Victim refused to cooperate' in Mirror Lake night rape case
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 16:01
Ohio State Police closed its investigation of a rape reported on campus in the hours after the Mirror Lake jump because the “victim refused to cooperate,” according to an University Police report.
The location of the Nov. 21 incident was also changed to Paterson Hall from Park-Stradley Hall after police learned that is where the incident occurred, said Deputy Chief of University Police Richard Morman.
The reported rape was one of several alleged sex crimes that was originally reported to University Police in Park-Stradley Fall Semester. An Oct. 12 alleged rape has also been recently closed, while a Nov. 4 reported gross sexual imposition is still listed as “investigation pending.”
The victim of the alleged rape on Nov. 21 — an 18-year-old female Park-Stradley resident — returned with the suspect, a male Paterson resident, to the suspect’s dorm room after participating in the Mirror Lake jump. The two reportedly had sexual intercourse. Upon later returning to her dorm room, the victim became visibly upset, and a male staff member called the police, according to the University Police report.
However, the victim decided not to press charges, and the case was later closed because the “victim refused to cooperate,” according to the report.
Residence hall staffs are trained to call the police in response to situations such as potential sex crimes, said Dave Isaacs, OSU spokesman for Student Life.
“Part of the RA (resident adviser) training is that they notify the hall director immediately, at any hour of the day or night, when they become aware of a situation. The hall directors notify law enforcement, but it is up to those involved to decide whether to talk to the police and whether they ultimately chose to press charges,” Isaacs said in an email.
Morman also said the victim is generally given the final say on whether to pursue the case.
“We usually err on the side of caution in what the victim, the sexual assault victim, desires,” Morman said. “We gave her (the victim) some additional time and we got back with her again, ‘Is this absolutely what you want to do?’”
Morman said it does not happen often that victims do not cooperate.
“Sometimes (reported victims) initially don’t know what they want to do, and part of our (police officers’) job is to help them do what’s right,” Morman said.
Some on-campus residents feel that the hall staff automatically calling the police helps ensure that the situation is better understood.
“I think a lot of times girls especially would be hesitant to get some sort of authority involved and I feel like it’s better to take a more precautionary measure as someone who’s able to, you know, the hall staff, then just let it go,” said Alyson Beiling, a Mack Hall resident and a first-year in exploration. “If (the victim) had decided that she didn’t want to but she’s still so upset, then I feel like it’s better for the hall staff to call the cops and get involved and just make sure.”
Other dorm residents think that the decision to get police involved should be left up to the victim.
“I think it should be up to the girl,” said David D’lima, a first-year in microbiology and a Morrison Tower resident. “She went through the event, she can decide if it was traumatizing enough to get police involved.”
Isaacs said that although hall staffs have not gone through any additional training since these reported sex crimes, “any incident heightens awareness of the need and importance for (their extensive) training.”
The victim and one other student listed on the report refused an interview with The Lantern. Other students listed on the report did not immediately respond to emails, and hall staff members referred The Lantern to Isaacs for comment.
There were 10 rapes reported on OSU’s campus in 2012, four of which are listed as case closed. Five rapes were reported in 2011, one of which has been closed, according to the University Police log.