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Some sexual assaults not reported to campus

Some sexual assaults not reported to campus

Crime reports Haley Yates | Staff Photographer

Some sexual assaults not reported to campus
October 15
00:43 2015

Alex Helm | Staff Writer


The Clery Act requires universities to report to the wider campus community when a sexual assault occurs on campus, but not all assaults need to be reported to the student body, multiple UNT administrators said.

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report sent out to campus Sept. 29 reported sex offenses in a new way. It now discloses sex offenses in four categories: rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape. There were 12 rape cases in 2014, according to the report, but the campus community was not alerted at the time of the respective incidents.

“If you have two people that are in, say, one of the bars on Fry Street and they get into a argument and they know each other, is that assault a threat to the campus community as a whole? Probably not,” UNT police chief Ed Reynolds said. “But let’s say we have a student who leaves the library late at night and they’re robbed on the way to a residence hall. In that situation, we don’t know who the perpetrator is or if the victim was chosen randomly, so that’s part of a larger issue.”

The criteria for a crime alert to be sent out is that the crime must be timely and that it poses an immediate threat to the greater UNT community, should it occur again.

“If we issued a crime alert for every offense that was reported to the police, you’d quit looking at your phones,” Reynolds said. “And I don’t want to desensitize our community on crimes that we don’t believe represent a threat. What we want to do is limit those alerts to ones where we believe that the community at large could be a victim of the same or similar crime.”

In April 2014, a crime alert was issued because of arson. In this case, the perpetrator was unknown and had committed the crime twice, so a crime alert was needed, authorities said.

“There was someone who had set a poster on fire in Victory Hall,” UNT spokeswoman Margarita Venegas said. “That in itself did not warrant a crime alert. But, they did it again. So at that point we elevated it to the level of crime alert because it had already happened, it was happening again and there was a likelihood it might happen again because it was establishing a pattern.”

Domestic disputes, like relationship sexual violence, do not warrant a crime alert because they do not put the campus community in danger, UNT authorities said. In many cases, sexual assaults are not reported until weeks or months after the crime was committed, which takes away the timely aspect. Sexual assault victims, the authorities said, often do not want to report to police.

Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness often works with victims of sexual assault. She serves as a campus security authority, many victims reported to the CSAs but not to the police. But CSAs are required to report back to the police.

“My conversation with you if you reported one of those things to me would be, okay let’s talk about what’s going to happen from here, and I want to make you aware, in no way, shape or form does that mean everybody is looking at you,” McGuinness said. “Because that’s what most survivors think. But I have this obligation to report and to make sure we’re being diligent and keeping our community safe.”

Clery crimes must also be committed within the Clery geography, which includes campus buildings, residence halls and a few areas around campus. A Clery team meets every two weeks to discuss how to handle these crimes, and is led by Reynolds, McGuinness and emergency management coordinator Brad Scott.

Featured Image: According to multiple UNT administrators, the Clery Act requires universities to report to the wider campus community when a sexual assault occurs on campus, but not all assaults need to be reported to the student body. Haley Yates | Staff Photographer 

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