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Four sexual assaults have been reported to Mercer Police in the last four months

Meghan Duffey

Nicholas Wooten, Editor-in-Chief

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Four sexual assaults were reported during the spring 2016 semester.

Records recently released from the university indicate incident reports for sexual assaults were filed on Feb. 1, Feb. 14 and May 11. The Cluster previously reported on an assault that was reported April 9.

The two cases in February were recently upgraded based on “additional information,” said Larry Brumley, the university’s senior vice president of marketing communications, in an email.

The first incident report was filed Feb. 1, and the reported assault took place in the Phase 4 lofts, also known as The Lofts at College Hill. The incident was handed over to Mercer Title IX coordinator Melissa Nunn, according to the report.

The second incident was originally reported Feb. 14, and Mercer Police officers were dispatched to Navicent Health Center. According to the report, the woman was heading to a party downtown on a Friday night with a date and some friends. Before they left, she was already drunk. Once downtown, her date continued to buy her drinks. She blacked out downtown and lost her memory for a few hours, according to the report.

She woke up during the night but didn’t understand what was going on and just wanted to go to sleep. When she woke up the next morning, he was still in the room, according to the report.

The third incident was reported May 11. A woman was allegedly assaulted after going downtown to The Hummingbird with a man on Monday night. She told officers that she didn’t remember anything after leaving the bar and that she woke up the next morning at 7 a.m. in his bedroom, she told police. Mercer Police were dispatched to Navicent Health Center, according to the report.

In all four of these incidents, the victims were female. None of the victims have chosen to press charges, according to the police reports.

The count is double the total of reported sexual crimes listed on Mercer Police’s crime log during the 2015 calendar year.

For 2015, an incident report for a rape in Mercer Hall was filed Jan. 17. A sexual assault that took place in the Sigma Nu house was reported Sep. 18. Mercer crime logs have only one rape listed in 2014. In 2013, Mercer crime logs have only one sexual crime listed — a reported sexual battery in Mercer Hall.

The numbers of total cases from the past few years increase when taking into account the number of cases not reported to Mercer Police but to other officials such as the Title IX coordinator.

There were four reported sexual crimes in the 2014 Campus Security Report that was emailed to students Oct. 1. This report follows Clery Act guidelines, a 1990 law that requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety.

Crimes not reported to law enforcement — such as cases that only go through an investigation by the Title IX officer as part of their role to investigate alleged sexual assaults or a school judicial hearing — are included in these counts.

According to the 2014 Campus Security Report, two rapes occurred on campus and two occurred off campus. The 2013 reports list one forcible sexual offense that occurred on campus. The 2015 report must be sent to students before the Oct. 1, 2016, federal deadline.

The FBI also keeps a table of criminal offenses reported to law enforcement officials under the Uniform Crime Report. The UCR compiles voluntarily submitted data from nearly 18,000 city, university, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, according to the group’s website.

The FBI has only published preliminary data from 2015 from January to June. However, data from the 2014 calendar year  is posted on the FBI’s site. For the entire year, much larger schools like the University of Georgia had 70 rapes reported while Georgia Tech had 20, Emory had 18 and Georgia State had 12, according to the data.

Smaller universities similar to Mercer in size like Georgia College and State University and Columbus State University reported six and one rape, respectively, according to the UCR data.

From Fall 2013 to Fall 2015, Mercer’s undergraduate enrollment rose from 4,429 to 4,694 students, according to data from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

When questioned further via email about the four assaults, Mercer officials declined to comment

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Four sexual assaults have been reported to Mercer Police in the last four months”

  1. Liz on June 1st, 2016 3:04 pm

    These are the ones reported…….and even the ones reported aren’t always documented apparently.

    [Reply]

    Emily Thompson Reply:

    Just because they go through the judicial process doesn’t mean it was reported to MerPo. It could have been reported to administration anonymously, so it doesn’t end up in MerPo’s reports, which is the source of many of these stories.

    [Reply]

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Four sexual assaults have been reported to Mercer Police in the last four months