UPD reports three sexual assault incidents on campus

Two of the three sexual assault incidents that were reported to UPD happened at Lumberjack Landing, a freshman level dorm. Assistant Chief of Police Craig Goodman said there is no reason to believe that the incidents are connected.

Between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, the University Police Department reported three incidents of sexual assault on the crime log. Two of the incidents occurred at Lumberjack Landing, and the third happened at Lumberjack Lodge, although Assistant Chief of Police Craig Goodman said there is no reason to believe the incidents are connected.

Of the three incidents, one is open for investigation, whereas the other two are not, with one victim not wanting police action and the other refusing to speak with police.

“Someone received information second-hand [and] reported it to us, but the person involved in the incident does not want any police action,” Goodman said. “That’s one of them. We do have an incident that’s currently under investigation. We’re working with the district attorney’s office, and we’re collecting evidence to determine whether or not charges will be pursued or not.

“In order for us to take any law enforcement action, the victim of a crime has to want police action taken,” Goodman said. “And, there are cases where you will have a victim of a crime, and they choose not to involve law enforcement. And, that’s my understanding of this case right now. They’re not ready to involve law enforcement.”

Goodman said that there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault, so the victims of these two cases could decide to involve the authorities at any time.

“In the recent past, there was a statute of limitations,” Goodman said. “You had x amount of years to report a crime.In this case, the victim can come forward at any point. It could be a week later [or] a year later. There’s no statute of limitation for sexual assault.”

Because the three incidents occurred on campus, UPD is not involving outside law enforcement. But, since two of the cases are not involving the police, only one case is open for investigation.

“Keep in mind, if a victim doesn’t want to pursue charges, there’s nothing being done right now for that particular case,” Goodman said. “Out of the three cases, there’s only one person, one victim, at this time that wants to pursue charges, and we’re in the stages of collecting additional evidence.”

For the open investigation case, UPD is still working to gather the evidence needed to make up a case file, but the timeline for completion is unknown.

“It’s just a matter of being able to put your case together, to put all of the elements that you need to present it to the district attorney,” Goodman said. “So, with this particular case where a person does want to pursue charges, we’re still collecting evidence. We’re still trying to identify witnesses. We’re in the investigative part of this case. There will come a time where once everything’s collected, it will be presented to the district attorney and they’ll decide whether or not to move forward with charges.”

Goodman encourages students to utilize UPD for help in emergency situations as soon as possible.

“From a police department perspective, we encourage any victim of any crime to come forward immediately,” Goodman said. “Because, when they do that, it’s a better chance that we can get all the evidence we need. Things are fresh on a person’s mind, so the details are clear. It just makes for a better case. We understand that people deal with things differently, but our advice would be to reach out to us.”

Meredith Janning has worked on The Pine Log since her second semester at Stephen F. Austin. During her time at The Pine Log, Meredith has held the positions of staff writer and news editor.

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