Sexual Assault Reported Near Occidental College

The alleged attack happened at an off-campus party, authorities said.

By Heather Navarro
|  Thursday, Feb 28, 2013  |  Updated 6:27 PM PDT
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Sexual Assault Reported Near Occidental College

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A student at Occidental College is a person of interest in the alleged rape of his peer at a house party off-campus, authorities said Thursday.

It was not previously reported whether the victim and the attacker knew eachother, or if the campus was in danger.

"We’ve seen other incorrect reports that this is a 'stranger rape' or a 'serial rapist,' and those reports are false," LAPD Lt. Patricia Milewski said.

The female victim sought medical treatment on her own after alleging that a fellow student sexually assaulted her at an off-campus party early Monday.

Partygoers, including the victim, were consuming alcohol, Milewski said.

The sexual assault happened shortly after midnight, officials said. No arrests have been made.

Occidental College held back for four days on alerting students to the sexual assault, because the victim and the alleged attacker are both students.

Students are alerted to possible safety threats via their campus email accounts.

Because the alleged rapist was known, the college saw no immediate threat to student safety, and no reason to immediately alert the campus of the incident.

"If the assailant was unknown, it could be a threat because they don't know where the person is or where they go next," said Jim Tranquada, spokesman for the college. "Had the suspect been unknown, we would have sent out an alert through campus email."

The identity of the students involved will not be revealed due to federal and state department of education rules, officials said, and to avoid impeding the LAPD’s investigation.

"Once the investigation concludes, we need to make a decision about whether disciplinary action will be taken and what it will be," Tranquada said. "Serious cases include expulsion."

The forcible rape is being investigated to be fair to the victim and the alleged attacker.

"This puts the college in an unusual situation, being that both the police and the school conducts individual investigations," Tranquada said. "We’re working on balancing all the rights of everyone involved."

Five forcible rapes within 2 miles of the college have been reported to the LAPD within the last six months, according to the department’s crime mapping website.

Occidental College is a private, liberal arts college in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood in northeastern Los Angeles.

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