Rape suspect dismissed from Ohio State
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 23:01
The case surrounding an alleged rape on Oct. 12 in Park-Stradley Hall has been closed because the “victim refused to cooperate,” according to the Ohio State Police logs.
The rape was reported by the victim, a female 18-year-old Park-Stradley resident. She told police she had gone to a downtown bar on the night of the alleged incident and had met a fellow Park-Stradley resident who was a “friend of a friend.” The victim and the suspect later took a taxi together back to their dorm. They both got off at the suspect’s floor to use the co-ed bathroom, where the suspect allegedly raped the victim in one of the private stalls, according to the police report.
Park-Stradley bathrooms have the same setup as six other halls on campus: Mack Hall, Canfield Hall, Bradley Hall, Paterson Hall and Scholars East and West. The co-ed bathrooms have a common sink area with multiple separate rooms off that area that each hold a toilet and a shower, OSU spokesman Dave Isaacs told The Lantern in a Jan. 8 interview.
When Park-Stradley residents returned to OSU after winter break, they found the doors to the common sink area had been removed from the bathrooms.
The doors were taken off due to feedback from residents who said they would “feel more secure if there was no divider between the hallways and that area,” Isaacs said in a Jan. 8 email.
However, that was not the only change the university decided to make after the alleged rape was reported.
The victim said in a statement to University Police she heard the suspect “had been removed from the building and suspended for 10 days.”
The suspect was “dismissed from OSU beginning Nov. 29,” according to the report.
The victim was “happy with the Student Judicial hearing,” according to the police report, and did not press criminal charges. The case was then closed, according to the report.
Moving a student to a different on-campus residence hall, removing him or her from on-campus housing and removing him or her from the university are among the disciplinary actions that can be taken in response to any nonacademic misconduct, said OSU Student Conduct director Andrea Goldblum in a Friday interview with The Lantern.
Goldblum could not discuss the specifics of any case because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits the university from giving out personal information about students.
Some students living in other on-campus residence halls think the removal of the doors was appropriate given student feedback in favor of the change.
“It’s a question of safety over privacy. If (Park-Stradley residents) think the doors removed make them safer, that’s great. In exchange for a little bit of privacy, I guess that’s up to them,” said Gabrielle Smith, a Haverfield House resident and a first-year in neuroscience.
Other students agree and said the absence of bathroom doors to the common sink area will lead to increased safety.
“If there’s sort of less privacy, then people can be more aware of what’s happening inside of the bathroom. So if something like that were to happen again, it would be easier for other people on the floor to find out about it or an RA (resident adviser) to hear if something was happening,” said Jenna Mendelson, a Lincoln Tower resident and a first-year in pharmaceutical sciences.
She added that it’s important OSU administrators listen to student feedback.
“I think that’s good that the university was talking to the students about what they wanted, because if they’re feeling safer than that’s what’s most important, because they’re the ones who have to live there,” Mendelson said.
The victim and some students listed on the reports did not respond to requests for comment. Other students listed declined to comment. Hall staff members referred The Lantern to Isaacs for comment.
Multiple sex crimes were reported in Park-Stradley Fall Semester. In addition to the Oct. 12 reported rape, there was a gross sexual imposition reported on Nov. 4 that is still “investigation pending.” There was also a rape reported on Nov. 21 in Park-Stradley, but the location was later changed to Paterson Hall. The case has since been closed because the “victim refused to cooperate,” according to the University Police log.
Eight other sex crimes have been reported on OSU’s campus since the start of Fall Semester. A Sept. 9 rape in Morrill Tower is now closed, as well as a Nov. 21 rape at Mirror Lake. Rapes reported in the Neil Avenue Residence Hall on Nov. 10 and Norton House on Jan. 8 are still “investigation pending.” A Jan. 12 rape in the Neuropsychology Department is listed as “unfounded,” according to the police log.