SJSU reviews protocols after alleged sex assault
San Jose State University will be reviewing its protocols for reporting sexual assaults to students after news surfaced of two assaults last month by a student believed to have since left the country.
The assaults were by an unidentified water polo player now believed to have returned to his home country. Both alleged assaults happened off campus and are being investigated by San Jose police.
The student has been suspended but not arrested or charged with any crime, university officials said.
In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, university President Mary Papazian said:
“I know some are wondering why a campus crime alert was not issued sooner. The totality of information available at the time — including the fact that the suspect had been identified and was being closely monitored — led to the determination that there was no imminent safety threat to the campus community.”
“While we are confident that this was a reasonable decision based on what we knew, I very much appreciate this concern. We will be reviewing all existing protocols and processes in collaboration with our newly established Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence and many others.”
The student is suspected of sexually assaulting the two students on separate occasions during Labor Day weekend, university spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris said.
College officials were notified of one of the alleged assaults sometime between Sept. 3 and 5 and the other on Sept. 19, Harris said.
San Jose police sent their case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine if criminal charges will be filed.
The water polo player, an international student, was placed on interim suspension on Sept. 22, barring him from educational and extracurricular activities and living on campus, according to Harris.
The school is communicating with police on the case and believe the suspected student has returned to his home country, Harris said.
Stanford University also drew scrutiny recently for a sexual assault on its campus that was not disclosed because the suspect had already been arrested.
Stanford public safety spokesman Bill Larson said that while the university is required under the federal Clery Act to send a timely warning to the community of recent crimes if there is a potential threat, once the suspect had been arrested there was no threat so the campus community was not notified.
The suspect in that case had allegedly assaulted a woman he was dating. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case.
Stanford was also where Brock Turner assaulted a woman outside a fraternity party last year in a case that drew global outrage when he was sentenced to just three months in jail despite being convicted of three felonies.
The case led the state legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to sign legislation stiffening sentences for sexual assault.