By: Grant F. Vance ~Managing Editor~ & Luke Byerly ~Copy Editor~
After a string of sexual assaults spanning two semesters, the notorious campus creep was taken into custody yesterday, Feb. 23.
Students were concerned specifically about the amount of time it was taking to catch him and what seemed to be a lack of information provided in timely notices.
According to Xavier University Police Chief Milek, four students have directly raised the question of why timely notices leave out crucial details, not to mention the general rumblings of curiosity expressed informally.
More factors affect the formulation of timely notices than can be seen on the surface level. There is a very delicate balance of accurate information and victims’ privacy, keeping in mind the university’s best interest as a whole.
“We take a lot into consideration, specifically the victims’ rights, their privacy, the community’s safety and the investigative process, just to name a few,” Milek said.
Milek clarified the reason exact time and location of an incident may not be included is due to potentially compromising the victim’s privacy or rights. The police department weighs the potential of further emotional damage, along with the preferences of the victim, against the direct threat that these incidents pose. By revealing the time and place of an incident, other students might be able to narrow down who was involved in the incident.
Another factor highly considered by Milek is to avoid creating an atmosphere of paranoia on campus by providing vague descriptions that could lead to stereotyping. This could cause hypersensitivity as far as awareness of specific features and locations that could impair smart decision-making.
Although the Police department is very selective about the which details to include, it was willing to share specifics about the cases collectively and what they have in common. Milek disclosed, with the consent of Title IX, that the majority of incidents happened on the ground level of Fenwick in the common area by Hoff Dining Commons and Currito.
Incidentally, the suspect was arrested between Fenwick and the Conaton Learning Commons, near the scene of the majority of incidents, according to Lt. William Smith. Smith also added that Xavier Police was tipped off about the suspect by a Physical Plant employee, who was asked to assist in suspect identification.
“They’ve been helping us keep an eye out for him, and we want to personally thank them for their assistance,” Smith said.
The suspect will face formal charges of at least two counts of sexual imposition and possibly more depending on the victims’ preferences. He was cooperative upon arrest and even admitted to committing the offense, according to Smith.
Milek and Smith described some of the additional measures that the police department took to counteract the assaults. The department increased the patrol efforts and even consulted with Cincinnati Police District 2.
Victim confidentiality is a highly important, highly sensitive factor in light of these assaults, but not everyone has chosen to stay anonymous. Amelia Ryczek, who encountered the suspect last semester, came forward to weigh in on the conflicting mentality that some victims face.
“Part of me wants to say it’s not a big deal, but that’s terrible,” Ryczek said. “I should be allowed to not be touched by random strangers.”
Ryczek understands the sensitivity of the situation but remains concerned regarding the minimal information about the most recent assaults.
“I had no idea it continued… and that’s disconcerting because I haven’t heard anything about it,” Ryczek said.
The suspect’s charges will ultimately be up to the victims, but the charge for this level of sexual assault is a third degree misdemeanor, enhanced to the first degree if the suspect holds prior charges.