Ohio State suspends athlete for sexual misconduct
Steeb Hall resident outraged that former OSU wrestler only received one-year suspension
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
One Ohio State freshman returned to her Steeb Hall dorm room after a March 2 sorority function hoping to get a good night’s sleep.
But the rest of her night, and the two months since, have been a nightmare.
While she slept in her lofted bed, a male stranger walked into her room, which was unlocked because her roommate was still out for the night, and climbed into her bed at about 12:30 a.m. March 3.
She says he raped her.
The freshman, whom The Lantern has chosen to grant anonymity because the case involves an alleged sexual assault and who will be referred to as “Jane” throughout this article, had gone to bed wearing her dress from her sorority event. She said the man put his hand up her dress. After she pushed him off her bed and called for help, he ran out of her room, leaving behind his shoes and baseball cap.
Now Jane says she wants OSU to change its policies regarding sexual misconduct after the Student Conduct department within the Office of Student Life issued a punishment she felt was too lenient in the case.
“Before this happened, I thought The Ohio State University was prestigious and it was an honor to be there," Jane said. "I’m a fifth-generation here, and now it means nothing to me.”
She never saw her assailant’s face but was able to identify him through the clothes he was wearing and the items of clothing left in her room.
When Jane’s resident adviser responded to the situation, they found a male student walking around her floor without shoes, visibly intoxicated, Jane said.
According to Jane and her father, whom The Lantern has chosen to call “Joe” to protect Jane’s identity, witnesses said the male student had been written up earlier in the evening for being visibly intoxicated.
Joe said that according to reports he saw, before the incident, the man was so intoxicated he tried kissing one female RA when she wrote him up. The man later punched another male when the RA asked his friends to help put him to bed, according to the reports.
Though The Lantern reached out to the RAs associated with the incident, RAs are prohibited from speaking on the record due to residence hall policy.
Jane did not immediately press charges, but did file a police report later in the evening on March 3.
OSU’s Student Conduct department held an administrative hearing for Jane’s case on May 2 and found former Buckeye freshman wrestler Devin Visconti in violation of four university policies, including sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct involves “physical contact or other non-physical conduct of a sexual nature in the absence of clear, knowing and voluntary consent as defined in the Code of Student Conduct.”
Visconti, who has not been criminally charged, also violated the policies on endangering health or safety, disorderly or disruptive conduct and alcohol, which includes “Use, production, distribution, sale or possession of alcohol in a manner prohibited under law or applicable University policy,” according to the final report from the hearing obtained by The Lantern.
Visconti received a one-year suspension, through May 3, 2013, during which time he is not permitted to enter or be present on any OSU campus or property, according to the terms of his sanctions.
Additionally, Visconti must complete an alcohol assessment course with a licensed substance abuse professional prior to reenrollment and is not to have any contact with Jane, according to the documents.
Prior to his suspension, Visconti was moved to another residence hall. Jane is still living in Steeb Hall.
Visconti did not respond to multiple emails. His father Robert Visconti answered the phone Friday at his parents’ house in North Reading, Mass., but directed The Lantern to Devin Visconti’s lawyer. A Tuesday follow-up call to his parent’s house went unanswered.
Devin Visconti’s lawyer John Tyack, whose office is located at 536 S. High St., did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails sent Monday and Tuesday.
Jane and her family do not think the university handled the case appropriately. They said they are shocked that Visconti was not permanently dismissed from the university and they feel his punishment equates to a “slap on the wrist,” Jane said.
“He should have been dismissed, because that’s all the university can do,” Jane said.
Joe said he feels the university has failed his daughter by not issuing a harsher punishment and was shocked by the case’s outcome.
“We were just devastated. I just couldn’t believe it because every witness, one right after another, said the same thing, identical things,” Joe said. “The school, for rape, thinks a one-year suspension is sufficient enough, which we don’t.”
Joe also said he was appalled to find that rape does not constitute a hate crime under OSU policy.