Campus Sex Assaults: Zero rape reports at Central State raises concern

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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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. “Given how often we know this happens on college campuses, the fact that students are not coming forward to talk to universities should certainly be a cause for concern.”

Central State is not alone. The AAUW released a report last year that found 76 percent of the nearly 4,000 main or primary campuses of U.S. colleges and universities with enrollment of at least 250 reported zero rapes.

Studies have shown that nearly 12 percent of students at surveyed schools report experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats or incapacitation since starting school. Those same studies show the vast majority of sexual assaults are never reported.

But Maatz said zero reports suggests the university is not doing enough to encourage victims to step forward.

“Why aren’t students coming forward to report what we know is happening?” she asked.

Central State officials did not respond to questions emailed this week.

The one sex offense case that was investigated by police was handled as an assault:

Aug. 25, 2015

The Central State student’s girlfriend went to Greene Memorial Hospital and reported to police that he choked her and tried to have sex with her against her will. Police checked his background and found he was previously arrested for gross sexual imposition in 2011, but was off probation.

The suspect told police his girlfriend had mental problems and she was the aggressor in the incident. He said they had consensual sex, then went to sleep and she woke him and accused him of choking her.

“(He) indicated he could have been dreaming about what happened earlier and that is why this incident happened,” according to the police report.

The suspect was arrested on assault and menacing charges and banned from school grounds and temporarily suspended. Xenia Municipal Court records say he was charged with criminal trespassing and later with violating a temporary protection order, but both charges were ultimately dismissed.

>> 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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