Investigations of alleged assaults completed

New developments have surfaced in both of the alleged sexual assaults that were reported last weekend. In one case, which involved a female student who reported being sexually assaulted on the morning of April 13, Security has completed its investigation and passed its findings on to the Office of the Deans. Separately, after a review of the facts of the case, the College and the student who alleged she was sexually assaulted in the fall have stated that the student no longer considers the incident a sexual assault.

“We’ve conducted all our interviews, said Dave Boyer, associate director of Security. “The Security phase is complete and our findings have been handed over to the deans.”

“I would say we have a fairly clear indication of what happened,” Boyer said, adding that the investigation has identified the assailant and the incident is still considered a sexual assault.

The assault was first reported to security on the evening of April 13 at 10:20 p.m. Security received a call from a female student who wanted to speak with the dean on call regarding a sexual assault. The dean on call was alerted by Security of the student’s request and a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) member was activated to assist the student. At 6:00 a.m. the following day, Boyer was alerted by Ruth Harrison, the on-call SART member and director of health services, that the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) should be notified that a sexual assault had occurred.

Although the WPD is in possession of a rape kit, no charges have been filed by the survivor. Boyer said that there is also no indication that charges will be filed.

In a separate investigation, the alleged sexual assault that occurred sometime in the fall has proven false, according to an all-campus e-mail from Nancy Roseman, dean of the College.

“Upon further investigation the incident from last fall, which came to light this past weekend, has now been determined not to be one of sexual assault and the female student has stated clearly the she does not consider it to have been a sexual assault,” Roseman wrote.

The e-mail is the second one that has been sent to students in the past year retracting earlier reports to the campus. On Sept. 23, a female student reported being assaulted in her room, an allegation that the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) found to be false. Students, faculty and staff were alerted of the assault via all-campus e-mail and then later informed of the WPD’s findings via another e-mail.

Although the College has informed the community of two incidents which have since proven not to have happened as reported, Boyer said that the College still has a responsibility to inform the community in a timely manner of serious incidents, even if the investigation is incomplete. “We do have an obligation to notify the community. . .. Some of these investigations take one or two weeks,” Boyer said. He also noted that the College is required by law to report serious incidents to students in a timely manner.

Both Roseman and Boyer said that the College should err on the side of caution when given reason to believe a sexual assault has occurred. If a serial rapist were present on campus, for instance, Boyer said, the College would have a serious problem if it did not report that fact to the community.