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Campus sex assaults: Alleged rapes investigated at Wittenberg


Editor’s note: This story is part of a special report by the I-Team examining how campus police at Ohio’s universities handle reports of sexual assault. Parts of this series contain detailed descriptions of alleged sexual assaults. We believe these narratives — gathered over several months — are vital for understanding campus sexual assault, and the alleged crimes that led to no charges being filed. Read the entire “Campus Sex Assaults” series here.

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Wittenberg University police investigated five sex offenses in 2014 and 2015, two of which were reported as rape or attempted rape.

For its size, the university had more arrests than other universities analyzed by this newspaper.

The university has faced federal investigations in recent years for allegations it under-responded to reported sexual assaults.

The attempted rape case led to an arrest, but the suspect was found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered into a mental health facility. He was later deported.

Police also arrested a student on sexual assault charges alleged to Springfield police in March.

One alleged sexual assault was not prosecuted:

Aug. 26, 2014

The call came from the victim’s boyfriend, telling law enforcement his girlfriend was sexually assaulted.

Wittenberg police responded with Springfield police, who interviewed the victim. She said a male student (not her boyfriend) came over to watch a movie, during which he tried to kiss her. She said she rebuffed him, but they ended up on a bed.

She told police she told him “no” and told him she would scream, but he didn’t stop. At some point she was able to get up, grab her clothes and leave the room, she told investigators.

No charges were filed.

Wittenberg University police respond

Wittenberg University Police Chief Jim Hutchins said Springfield police assist his department in investigating alleged rapes, though victims have the right to report assaults in such a way that they don’t lead to criminal investigations.

Hutchins, a former Springfield police officer, said he supports the university disciplinary hearing process that allows the university to take action even when there isn’t enough evidence for criminal prosecution.

“I really like the (Title IX) process,” he said. “It guarantees there is an investigation. It guarantees it will be looked at, and if someone’s found to be wrong they will be held accountable.”

These hearings have been criticized by some who say they are unfair to the accused, but sexual assault survivors say that with a criminal justice system that almost never prosecutes accused rapists, it often is the only justice they get.

>> RELATED: Mary’s story highlights barriers to convicting alleged campus rapes

>> IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION: 79 cases, 5 arrests, 0 rape convictions


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