OSU hires firm to review 1999 off-campus rape

Alleged attack happened off school grounds by a man not enrolled in the university

Valley Library on the campus of Oregon State University, as seen on their website Jan. 29, 2015
Valley Library on the campus of Oregon State University, as seen on their website Jan. 29, 2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State University has hired a Pennsylvania firm to investigate whether it mishandled a report of an off-campus rape in 1999.

University spokesman Steve Clark told the Corvallis Gazette-Times that the firm — NCHERM Group —would review OSU’s handling of the case to determine whether it failed to adequately help the alleged victim.

Clark said the alleged attack happened off school grounds by a man not enrolled in the university.

“My understanding is it was not reported (to police),” he said. “The survivor did say she reported it to university counselors at the time but felt the university did not handle the matter appropriately.”

Clark declined to identify the woman who made the report or provide information such as her age, year in school or field of study at the time of the incident, citing concerns for the former student’s confidentiality and federal educational privacy laws.

The firm will try to interview the woman, the man and anyone else who might have information. Moreover, it will review all reports of sexual assault made to campus officials since the fall of 2010 to see whether OSU can offer additional help to victims or pursue disciplinary action against their attackers, Clark said.

This is the second time in recent months that Oregon State officials have looked into claims that the school failed to adequately address a reported rape in the late 1990s.

A former student went public last fall with complaints that the university did little to help after two Oregon State football players and two other young men sexually assaulted her at an off-campus apartment in 1998.

All four men were arrested at the time, but charges were dropped after the woman declined to participate in the prosecution. The football players got one-game suspensions.

OSU President Ed Ray recently said the university is adding staff in the Office of Equity and Inclusion to investigate reports of sexual assault and harassment and will establish an advocacy center this summer to provide confidential support to victims of sexual violence.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

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