On Oct. 21 at 12:30 a.m, University Police were notified of an alleged sexual assault that occurred on campus. Officers immediately began collecting information from the victim and began investigating. This is the first sexual assault that has been reported to University Police that has resulted in the victim wanting to press charges for the 2021 school year.
The investigation is still ongoing and all parties have been contacted.
“(We are getting the) facts and making sure we have all those and then report those to the county prosecutor to the county attorney’s office and they will be the determining body on this and what charges if any are to be filed,” said PSU chief of police Stu Hite.
Hite also said that this incident could be considered for a felony charge.
If a student has been sexually assaulted, they can go to the Bryant Student Center to receive a free rape kit along with antibiotics for possible STI, Plan-B, and three free therapy sessions. The rape kit performed can sit at the KBI for up to five years until the victim is ready to process it if they decide to do so.
“If they choose to go through, have a sexual assault exam done, they can do that and never involve the police department,” Hite said. “A survivor or victim of a sexual assault can go there and again, not involve law enforcement, but get the sexual assault kit done to preserve the evidence, and then it’s up to their discretion when they do it.”
On Oct. 1 of every year, an annual safety and fire security report is released by university police. According to the report, for the year 2020, there was one instance of rape on campus property, one instance of rape in university housing, and one instance of rape on non-campus property. Rape is also defined in the report as, “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” There were also two instances of fondling. One being on campus and the other campus housing.
While this is the first sexual assault case that has to lead to criminal charges for the 2021 school year, the Campus Victim Advocate, Stephanie Spitz has seen nineteen new sexual assault cases this past semester. All nineteen cases were PSU students who have been sexually assaulted in Pittsburg. Seventeen of them occurred from July 2021-Nov. 2021. Sexual assault is defined in the report as, “any physical contact of a sexual nature that is committed either by force, coercion, intimidation, or manipulation or through the use of a person’s mental or physical incapacity, including incapacitation caused by the use of drugs or alcohol.” Out of the nineteen, not all of the people have gotten rape kits done or have reported to authorities. Some of these people have sought out Spitz looking for what Spitz calls a “touchpoint for support.”
“What are the requirements for state law, it’s so nuanced that not a lot of things fit; It has to fall within certain places geographically, (which) is one of the highest standards,” said Spitz. “Which for me, anywhere it counts. If it happens at the 505 parking lot, which happened earlier this semester, if it happened at a house party, I still get those people. I am still seeing everyone when they are (0nly) getting specific numbers that they can report.”
Spitz can be found in the Bryant Center or at 620-235-4831
“Sexual violence is any acts that are attempted, forced, or completed,” Spitz said. Just like any other form of violence, this is about power and control. It’s not about sex, it’s not about someone being super horny and need things taken care of, it’s because they need to control some element of that interaction with that person.”
The Bryant Student Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am.-4:00 p.m.