Editor’s note: Parts of this series contain detailed descriptions of alleged sexual assaults. We believe these narratives — which this newspaper gathered over several months — are vital for understanding campus sexual assault, and the alleged crimes that led to no charges being filed.
Using Ohio public records law, this newspaper acquired reports of 167 sex offenses alleged to campus police at eight Ohio universities in 2014 and 2015. They included 79 alleged rapes and sexual assaults. Other charges included fondling and voyeurism.
These cases represent a small fraction of the total assaults that took place on the campuses, studies have shown.
Just five of the 79 cases examined by this newspaper led to arrests in 2014 and 2015, and not a single one had resulted in a prison sentence. A handful of the cases remained open at the end of the year.
» Mary's story highlights barriers to convicting alleged campus rapes
» 79 cases, 5 arrests, 0 rape convictions
Credit: Jeff Guerini
Credit: Jeff Guerini
In April 2015, a female University of Dayton student went to Miami Valley Hospital and reported she woke up after a night of drinking with her pants around her ankles. She said she would “never known anything (about what happened) if her friends did not tell her,” according to police records.
The case would lead to one of only five arrests in 2014 and 2015 out of 79 sexual assault investigations by police at eight Ohio universities during those years, an investigation by this newspaper found.
Campus cases rarely lead to sex assault convictions
The stories of the 77 young women and two men who told campus police they were sexually assaulted are each unique, but patterns emerge.
Alcohol often was involved, followed by hazy recollection. But the victim in each case said the sex wasn’t consensual. Alleged perpetrators were friends, or strangers who offered help getting home from a bar.
More than one victim had multiple assailants.
Campus sex assaults: Survey to poll college students
Credit: Ramin Talaie
Credit: Ramin Talaie
Later this month, universities across Ohio will release the findings of surveys designed to get a handle for the first time on the prevalence of campus sexual assault.
Nearly all colleges and universities in the state are participating in the survey, which also will look at factors behind sexual assault and barriers to reporting incidents.
She said she wasn’t attracted to the guy. She didn’t even like him.
But she never told police or university officials that he raped her.
It happened in spring 2014. The woman — who this newspaper agreed not to name — was a student at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.
Turner case prompts calls for consent discussions
Brock Turner received “extensive education and training on sexual violence” during his first year at Stanford University, but advocates and Ohio’s attorney general say consent needs to be part of family discussions and school curriculum before students advance to higher education.
Turner’s case illustrates the difficulty prosecutors face in cases where the victim party cannot give consent due to intoxication or unconsciousness. It also raises new awareness about having age-appropriate conversations about consent.
Prosecutor refuses Miami student’s plea for arrest
Of 38 sex offenses investigated by Miami University police in 2014 and 2015, police records reviewed by the I-Team label 20 of them as a “sexual assault” or “rape.”
The only one that led to an arrest by Miami University police was dismissed after a grand jury declined to indict.
One case that didn't lead to arrest was Mary's story, which illustrates the barriers that keep most sexual assault cases from ever seeing a court of law.
Alleged rapes investigated at Wittenberg
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.
At Ohio State, victim ‘didn’t know what to do’
Ohio State University police investigated 23 alleged rapes in 2014 and 2015, an I-Team analysis of police records found.
In one case, a student was arrested after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman while she was passed out drunk. He was arrested on rape charges, but ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor attempted breaking and entering.
Supreme Court decision made our analysis possible
Many of the sexual assault police records reviewed as part of the I-Team’s investigation into how Ohio campus police handle rape cases has never before been made public.
This is because prior to last year police at private universities — such as the University of Dayton and Wittenberg University — considered themselves exempt from the public records law that applies to other Ohio law enforcement agencies.
WSU rape case dropped; suspect wouldn’t talk
Wright State University police investigated nine alleged rapes in 2014 and 2015, one of which led to an arrest this year.
Several cases were closed because the victim didn’t want to press charges. One said she blamed herself for bringing home a guy she met on the social app MeetMe. Another said “she feels she is not strong enough to face the scrutiny of going through the legal system over her sexual assault.”
Ohio U. victim ‘was failed on multiple levels’
The sexual assault that led Ohio University student Dedrick Peterson to be sentenced to five years in prison wasn’t the first time he was accused of sexually assaulting a female student.
Zero rape reports at Central State raises concern
Central State University had only one sex offense reported to campus police in 2014 and 2015, which was investigated as an assault. The university reported zero forcible sex offenses in 2014, the most recent year for which universities are required to report crime statistics under federal law.
This is cause for concern for activists such as Lisa Maatz, vice president of government relations at the American Association of University Women.
“The notion they would have zero reports just defies reality,” she said.
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