Home Law Athens police speak out about alleged sexual assault on Court St.

Athens police speak out about alleged sexual assault on Court St.

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When someone thinks of a stereotypical homecoming weekend in Athens, OH, they probably think of alumni, football, the parade, school spirit and kegs and eggs, but this year something criminal happened on Court St. that has gotten worldwide attention.

Saturday night, Oct. 12, after the football game was over, the bars on Court St. were filled with alumni and students. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. a sexual act up against the windows of Chase Bank was caught on tape. Onlookers took photographs and video of, what seemed at the time, a male giving oral sex to a female.

Sunday evening the female in question reported “un-consenting sexual conduct”, according to an Athens police report. This is when the story exploded over the Internet. The photos and videos were taken down and the remaining photos are ones in which everything is blurred out.

Following this explosion of attention, the police work continues. According to Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle, the police department is using the photos to their advantage.

“While it certainly to the typical person would appear to be despicable that they’re posting this information, it also assisted us in our investigation,” Pyle said.

New claims are coming out every day about the sexual assault. Reports that two men beat up the alleged rapist, reports that the male and female went into the same apartment building after the incident, and other general reports of people claiming there was consent between the male and female.

“All these claims are being taken into consideration,” Pyle said.

All parties involved are cooperating with the Athens Police Department and Ohio University’s own internal investigation.

“It is a necessity to not prejudice the investigation or the outcome,” Pyle said. “And so Ohio University would not be privileged to any information that was not available to the regular public.”

But the university has expressed concern.

“Our internal investigation of this alleged incident is being conducted in accordance with university policy and procedures in a way that is supportive of the criminal investigation being carried out by the Athens Police Department,” Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said in an email sent out to all Ohio University emails last week.

McDavis also said, that students should take this event as a learning experience. Thousands of rapes happen each year. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), there are an average of 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault every year. This isn’t counting the percentage of crimes that go unreported.

Fifteen “un-consenting sexual conduct” crimes were reported to the APD in 2012, according to police records. Many more go unreported.

“I am very shocked at the publicity this story has gotten, we don’t find ourselves in national news that often besides for Halloween and being a “party school,” this puts such a negative vibe over Athens,” local resident Judith Pensky said.

City officials have been working to present the facts of the case and dismiss any rumors that are untrue.

“We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again, by staying vigilant on our patrols and by educating students and residents about the dangers of alcohol,” Pyle said.

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