Ohio University Police Chief Andrew D. Powers

Ohio University Police Chief Andrew D. Powers

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OUPD updates campus about reports of sexual imposition


Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers emailed the following message to all students, faculty, and staff on the Athens Campus Monday evening:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Last week, the Ohio University Police Department took two reports of sexual imposition involving female victims who were walking across campus. Over the weekend, we received two additional reports of suspicious males engaged in harassing, if not illegal, behavior. I am writing today to underscore the seriousness of these offenses, share what OUPD is doing in response, and provide important tips as to how our community can join us in condemning and preventing this type of behavior.

Touching people against their will — especially in a sexual area — is not a joke, it’s a crime. Depending on the circumstances, it could be a felony and result in a lengthy prison sentence. We all have the right to control what happens to our bodies, and none of us should have to tolerate being molested while walking on campus. In addition to the criminal statutes, Ohio University has a sexual misconduct policy that prohibits a broader range of inappropriate conduct. I would encourage everyone to review this policy, which is available here.

OUPD takes all crime seriously, especially sex offenses. In the wake of last week’s assaults, our patrol officers are enhancing their emphasis on foot patrol and increasing their visibility and accessibility to our community. In addition, our detectives are working diligently to identify the suspects. To that end, detectives today posted surveillance video on our Facebook page that shows the suspect in the Adams Hall incident. Please take a moment to review the video here and if you think you might recognize the suspect, call 740-593-1911 and ask for Detective Rick Sargent. Although it isn’t possible to recognize facial features in the video, we hope the suspect’s clothing, gait, or mannerisms may be familiar to someone. Once identified, we will charge the suspect(s) accordingly and, if they are students, also furnish copies of the criminal charges to the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility for administrative action.

Preventing sexual assault is everyone’s responsibility. We work hard to arrest those who commit crimes, but we can’t be everywhere. We need your help to be effective. If you see suspicious conduct, don’t assume it’s a joke. Call the police immediately and intervene only if you feel safe. You can also help by creating a culture of intolerance for sexual assault. Don’t joke about these crimes or trivialize them, and challenge those who do. Emphasize the importance of respecting personal boundaries and support those who assert their personal limits. Remember the role that alcohol can play in sexual assault and look after one another if you and your friends have been drinking. Also keep in mind that alcohol is not an excuse for committing a crime.

OUPD remains committed to serving and protecting our community. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you think you might have helpful information about the sexual impositions reported last week, call 740-593-1911 and ask for Detective Rick Sargent.

We wish you the best for the semester ahead. Remember, we’re here for you. We’re here for everyone. If you need us, call us — we’re your police department.

Sincerely,

Andrew Powers
Ohio University Police Chief