SMU student reports being sexually assaulted in dorm room

SMU student reports being sexually assaulted in dorm room

Credit: WFAA

Southern Methodist University

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by MATT GOODMAN & JASON WHEELER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM

DALLAS -- A Southern Methodist University student reported to police that an acquaintance sexually assaulted her in her dorm room early Monday morning, campus officials say. 

SMU issued a campus crime alert Tuesday reporting the incident, which occurred “in the early morning hours” at a residence hall located at 6004 Hillcrest Ave. SMU police are investigating, the crime alert says. 

University spokesman Kent Best issued the below statement regarding the incident: 

"SMU takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously and its police department vigorously investigates all such complaints. The alleged sexual assault reported to SMU Police on Jan. 21 is under police investigation. Anyone with information about this matter is asked to contact SMU Police at 214-768-3388."

Kent said university's police department is working with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. No arrest has been made and the investigation is ongoing.

"This is an acquaintance situation, so SMU police, which is continuing its investigation, knows the identity of both students," Kent wrote in an email. 

Last year, SMU formed a sexual assault task force to address how the university investigated and punished sexual assault cases. It met in October for the first time.

That May, the university’s student newspaper The Daily Campus found that the school uses an internal system of hearings and then doles out its own punishment without always forwarding the case to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

That changed last year, however, with the sexual assault charges filed against John David Mahaffey and Donald Samuel Cuba. Mahaffey, 19, is accused of sexually assaulting a male student twice at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house and at a nearby parking garage. 

Cuba, 20, was indicted in September for allegedly raping an SMU student in Smith Hall on Feb. 10. SMU President Gerald Turner has also invited Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins to campus to discuss the university's response to sexual assaults. 

This is the fourth reported sexual assault this academic year, dating to August 2012, Kent said.

The Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures’ goal is to “reexamine how the University handles allegations of sexual misconduct among students.” 

Kent said the task force is "hoping to conclude its meetings by the end of April." 

"The group will review information gathered in the fall from internal and external experts as well as benchmarking information it has been collecting from 30 other universities," Kent said. 

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