Daily Egyptian

Rape reported at SIUE; woman later asks police not to pursue case

By Elizabeth Donald, Belleville News-Democrat

A woman reported a rape on the campus of SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday, but later declined to follow through with an investigation.

According to SIUE police, the woman reported that she accompanied a male acquaintance to his on-campus apartment in Cougar Village about 4 a.m. Sept. 20. They were part of a group of friends who attended a party in Edwardsville but dispersed once they returned to campus. She reported that back at his apartment, he sexually assaulted her.

It was reported to SIUE police on Wednesday, and the campus issued a crime “e-lert” to faculty, staff and students on Thursday. However, SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll said that the woman does not want police to proceed with an investigation.

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“That was her choice, perhaps because she knew this person,” Schmoll said. “But she was adamant that she did not want to pursue this.”

Schmoll said investigators told the woman she also can pursue a Title IX investigation with university officials that would investigate separately from law enforcement. The possible findings for that include violations of the student conduct code, which would be referred to the Dean of Students, he said. Consequences might include relocating either or both students in residential housing and removed from being in classes together, so that they do not run into each other.

“We talked to her and laid out all her options,” he said. “The choice is up to the reporting party whether they pursue it or not.”

Schmoll said they also referred her to SIUE’s counseling services and contacted the Dean of Students. The man’s name was not released by police, but they gave a description of him in the alert: a white male with brown hair and brown eyes weighing approximately 170 pounds.

The e-lert reminded students of safety practices, such as letting someone know where you are and where you are going, being aware of levels of intoxication and not accepting drinks from other people or leaving your drink unattended, staying with friends and being aware of surroundings.

“When going on a date, have an idea of where you are going and be suspicious of sudden changes to the plan,” it read. “Let someone know if your original location is changed … Trust your gut feelings. If you feel that you are in a dangerous situation or that you are being pressured, you are probably right.”

It also told students that SIUE police will offer escort to students apprehensive about walking on campus, or they can use the Rave Guardian app recently adopted by SIUE, which includes a panic button, direct contact with campus police and a “safety network” of friends and family who will be able to use the app to track where they are.

(c)2015 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.) Visit the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.) at www.bnd.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 

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