OU Student Misidentified As Alleged Rape Victim

By
Joe Higgins - Athens Messenger Editor

Dateline
Updated Tue, Oct 22, 2013 9:50 am
Photo Credit: 
Jasmine Beaubien
Court Street in Athens, Ohio

An Ohio University student who was misidentified as the victim of an alleged rape that took place over Homecoming weekend filed a complaint with police over telecommunications harassment.

The female OU student reported Monday that between Wednesday and Friday she had received numerous harassing comments via social media websites after wrongly being identified as the victim of a highly-publicized alleged sexual assault, according to a report from the Athens Police Department.

Investigators are looking into a claim by another Ohio University female student that a man allegedly sexually assaulted her in public on Court Street near Chase Bank between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Oct. 12. The woman reported the incident the following Monday and since then, investigators have located and interviewed both the man and woman involved.

No charges have been filed in the case.

The sexual contact was caught on video by passersby, some of whom also snapped photos and posted images on numerous social media outlets of the man allegedly performing oral sex on the woman. Stories of the incident — some of which have allegedly misreported facts in the case — began circulating throughout the Internet and caught the attention of people on a global scale.

On some websites and blogs, the second OU student was misidentified as the victim in the investigation. According to the police report, links to her social media contacts were distributed throughout these sites and she received harassing correspondences as a result — some from as far away as Australia. In response, the student has deactivated her social media accounts. Ohio University has also removed her student information from its website and the school has reportedly excused her from upcoming classes.

Ohio University Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones confirmed to The Messenger that the complainant is not the woman in connection with the alleged sexual assault incident and said she has been working with both the complainant and her family to support her through this time.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn also confirmed that the complainant in the harassment case is not the woman in the videos and/or photographs. Blackburn met with members of the Athens Police Department in regards to the investigation on Monday. Following the meeting, Blackburn said the investigation continues and that there are still no charges pending at this time.

The report states that due to jurisdictional issues, the telecommunications harassment is not being pursued locally.

The Messenger reached out to the complainant for an interview but she had not responded before the print deadline.

The Messenger has a policy of not printing the name of sexual assault victims and has chosen not to print the telecommunications harassment complainant’s name either.

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