Ohio University Police Chief Criticises Crowd For Filming Apparent Sexual Assault Instead Of Stopping It

Ohio UniversityWikimedia CommonsOhio University

Images and video from an alleged sexual assault that happened on an Athens, Ohio street last weekend have been making the rounds on social media, and Ohio University’s police chief
has condemned bystandersfor filming the attack instead of alerting authorities.

OU student newspaper The Post reports that Police Chief Andrew Powers said documentation of the alleged crime on social media could help hold the perpetrator responsible for something he might have otherwise gotten away with.

“What is more disturbing are the social implications of what it means for someone to have been standing there watching this thing happen, videotaping it with their phone instead of getting involved and trying to help the victim,” Powers told the newspaper.

The alleged attack happened during the university’s homecoming weekend.

The female victim came forward to file a rape complaint after seeing a video on Instagram that showed a man performing a sex act on her in front of Chase Bank on Court Street, the small college town’s main drag.

Buzzfeed has posted various tweets and screenshots of the Instagram video. Many of these posts have since been deleted.

The woman in the video is a 20-year-old OU student, according to a police report. The report also notes that alcohol was involved in the incident, which was reported to police a day after it happened.

OU’s sexual misconduct policy states that consent cannot be obtained from someone who is “asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs or some other condition.”

It appears that the victim did not know her attacker. He is listed as a stranger on the police report.

Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi said in a text message to Business Insider that the alleged assault occurred off campus and that the university will do anything it can to support the individual involved.

The response on social media has been mixed, with many students appearing not to take the alleged assault very seriously:

The incident comes just days after a rally against rape culture on the same street where the alleged assault occurred. The Athens News wrote about the event and quoted a student who said her case was turned down by the university’s judicial system: “I love this school, but I lost a lot of faith in OU.”

UPDATE: OU’s Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi has issued the following statement:

“We are aware of the incident involving Ohio University students that occurred off-campus on Court Street this weekend and will support the investigation being conducted by the Athens Police Department. We are following our university policy and procedures in responding to this situation and most importantly, are using all of our available resources to provide support to the student who filed the report.”


Here’s one of the photos (Warning: graphic):

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