Woman files rape charges against student in housing

A female student filed rape and kidnapping charges against a male student following a late-night party in the Main Apartment Complex of student housing.

During the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 28, the female student filed felony charges of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping, said university police spokesperson Lt. Ron Swartz. Within hours, multiple students from housing were interviewed and police arrested a male student. He is being held at Cook Inlet Pretrial Facility on a $100,000 bail.

The suspect allegedly held the female student against her will and raped her while a second female student was also in the room, Swartz said.

It appears that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the incident, he noted.

“She just happened to be in the room at the time of this alleged attack. Her condition didn’t allow her to give sustentative evidence,” he said, adding that she was too intoxicated to do anything about the situation at the time of the alleged rape.

“Certainly people’s judgment and decision-making can be altered when drinking is involved,” he said.

The second female student in the room has not been charged or charges filed against anyone else in relation to this incident, Swartz said. The female who pressed charges was treated by a response team and then released.

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The incident occurred in the same MAC building that police were called to earlier in the weekend for noise and alcohol complaints, and where warnings were issued, according to police.

“We don’t expect any further arrests or any further charges,” Swartz said.

Acting Director of Residence Life and MAC Coordinator Michael Votava said he couldn’t confirm that the incident took place, because he wants to be sensitive and help maintain the privacy of the survivors that may have been involved.

“Here’s what I can tell you: I can’t confirm or deny that an event such as that took place,” Votava said, adding that he could comment on what Residence Life would do if an event like that took place.

He said Residence Life posted red and bold safety-alert fliers they received from university police. The fliers were posted at the front and back entrance of each dorm hall and the MAC and Templewood apartments Oct. 29, to be taken down the following weekend. A campus community e-mail was also sent out.

He said Residence Life can offer general things to students who face rape, including asking the students if they want their rooms in student housing to be changed if the space is available, and helping with getting services provided by the Student Health and Counseling Center, counseling services from the division of student development, or a university investigation and judicial process to begin.

A counselor from the division of student development is available to students for academic advising and personal counseling at West Hall on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Votava said Residence Life also refers survivors of sexual assault or rape to the Standing Together Against Rape program.

“Giving the survivor a choice is important, because oftentimes the ability to make a choice or remain in control of a situation was taken away from that student during the sexual assault or the rape,” he said. “The department of residence life is involved to the degree that a survivor wants us to be involved.”

He said the dean of students and vice chancellor of student affairs can also be involved.

In August, they had STAR come in to educate the student staff, including resident advisers, about the issues.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, call the Southcentral Counseling 24-hour Crisis Line at 563-3200. If you are immediately threatened, dial 911 or call the University Police Department at 786-1120.

Rape and mugging prevention methods

1. Buddy up:
One of the best ways to avoid being attacked by a stranger is to travel in numbers, and the more the merrier. If you find yourself alone, call the University Police Department at 786-1120, and arrangements for an escort will be made.

2. Walk with confidence:
Studies have shown that violent offenders will often select their victims based on their appearance as easy prey. A person who walks with a slouch and appears to have low self-esteem is more likely to be attacked than a person who walks erect and with a bold, strong stride.

3. Make eye contact:
Making eye contact with others, even briefly, lets them know that you are aware of them and allows you a better chance of being able to identify a suspect later. Try this with a friend – walk toward your friend, deliberately avoiding eye contact for a bit. Then make eye contact. Both of you will feel a sudden sense of nonverbal communication pass between you the instant your eyes meet.

4. Change directions:
If you believe that you are being followed, a quick change of direction will confirm this or invite your would-be attacker to abandon the idea, especially if you are a pedestrian being followed or harassed by a motorist.

5. Walk or run toward populated or well-lit areas.

6. Know your limitations:
The key here is survival. The decision to fight an attacker is a personal one. Sometimes it is safer to surrender your belongings or submit to being assaulted. Material things can be replaced; physical and emotional wounds will heal – but death is final.
– Courtesy of the University Police Department