On-campus sexual assault reported by third party

3 years ago database_admin 14

A sexual assault was reported to university police yesterday, which allegedly took place in the Newton Gresham Library parking lot on the evening of Feb. 17.

University Police Chief Kevin Morris said a third party came to UPD and reported that his girlfriend told him that she was sexually assaulted.

UPD does not know whether or not the boyfriend, victim or suspect were students and have not yet contacted the victim. The department plans to send out a mass email to notify students, staff and faculty of Sam Houston State University later tonight.

“Now, we haven’t talked to the victim, we don’t know who the victim is,” Morris said. “But out of an abundance of caution and out of an abundance of safety, I’m going to take what he is telling us at face value and that’s why we’re going to have a timely notification go out tonight. At the same time, I would also like anyone who has any information to contact our department.”

Morris recommends that anyone who is in a similar situation involving a sexual assault to get somewhere safe and contact someone who can assist you.

“One thing that we want you to do is get to a safe place,” he said. “Notify a friend, an RA, someone you know, someone that can help you, someone who can assist you. It is a very stressful event and a very personal event as well. Or call us immediately. Some people don’t want us there, some people do and that’s the victim’s choice. But we want you to get to a safe place. If you’re on campus, contact a friend, a resident assistant, maybe a hall director or even a family member to be with you.”

For those victims who do want police intervention, Morris advises them to be careful with potential evidence.

“We want you to call the police because it is a criminal incident that has happened because we want to provide a role in providing a safe community for the university,” Morris said. “At the same time, we don’t want to destroy evidence because evidence is very important in seeking criminal prosecution on our end. We don’t want the victims to bathe, change clothes, apply a feminine product… because evidence is very critical for us especially if it winds up going to trial or to court.”

For those who would rather not have police involved, Morris advocates for university services and medical attention.

“At the same time, we recognize that not everyone wants to go through that process,” Morris said. “Another important thing is that the university has quite a bit of assistance as well. We have counseling services, we have other victim related services that we are going to try to provide for these victims. And if you don’t want police intervention, then we also ask that you go to an emergency room for medical care as well. Even if you’re walking by yourself across campus, we have that escort program, all you have to do is contact us.”

If you have any information regarding this matter, please contact UPD by calling 936-294-1800.