Regret, shame or embarrassment could have played a role in the report a female student made claiming to have been sexually assaulted, after having sexual intercourse with a male student.
On Sept. 16 Tyler PD and Tyler Junior College Police were called to ETMC concerning a student who reported being sexually assaulted on campus by an “unknown” individual.
TJC investigator, Corporal Peggy Scott who has dealt with similar cases in the past, spoke with the family of the potential victim, making the family the only resource of information at that time.
“These investigations are kind of complex, and when you have someone that is in crisis, it’s not the best time to sit down and talk to them (the victim),” TJC Police Chief Randy Melton, said. “They may not be emotional OK to talk.”
The suspect was initially described to officials as a tall, heavy-set black male who had sexually assaulted the victim during Sundays’ early hours at the Ornelas A Building. TJC police notified the campus community via email and text message of a potential crime and urged them to take safety precaution as the case was in the process of investigation.
“We have to put the information out, a timely warning,” said Chief Melton.
Authorities continued with the investigation by interviewing students and campus staff and reviewing footage from surveillance cameras to find more clues about the incident.
Chief Melton said that the following day the potential victim and suspect were both interviewed, and revealed to investigators that the incident was not a sexual assault but an act of consensual sex.
The names of both students were not released making the real reasons of such a claim difficult to understand. Chief Melton explained that the location and time of the act is also unknown, but no criminal act has occurred closing the investigation as an inaccurate case.
Although the claims were unfounded, the incident made students more aware of the constant safety guidelines they should follow in a junior college that offers night classes.
“There is so much you can do,” Kimberley Hines, freshman, business management Major, said. “People are so unpredictable even the people you thought never hurt you would, and that’s the sad part.”
Hines, who was a victim of sexual molestation and understands firsthand the trauma of such an incident, can relate to the pain it brings in the victims life. One out of every three women will be raped in her lifetime, according to “The Rape Victim,” sexual assault statics report by Koss, M.P. & Harvey, M.R., in 1991.
“I’m 18 years old and it happen when I was 13, and I still haven’t healed,” Hines said. “I relive my nightmare daily. It does not go away. I think about it every day.”
The false claim on Sept. 16 of the sexual assault report brings the question of whether this particular situation could prevent future victims from making a report. In a study of college students, only 5 percent of women reported their assaults, only 5 percent sought help from a rape crisis center and 42 percent told no one, according to the National Statistics on Sexual Assault.
“This is what causes the ones that are true victims to not report, cause they see this,” Dr. Tom Johnson, Executive Director of campus safety and law enforcement, said. “It’s a crime people are nervous to talk about, ashamed to talk about and that’s why we want them to feel we are the community police department.”
TJC has a fully functioning police department, and has installed a community safety plan, which involves every one from the part time student to the janitors, working with all departments to ensure the safety of every single individual. There is also a total of 300 surveillance cameras around campus, and tip lines for reports of any suspicious activity.
“You have to let someone know in order to get help,” said Jesus Espinoza, sophomore, General Studies.
An anonymous tip line via text is number 79516, to report any suspicious activity all hours of the day. Campus Police number for a safety escort after 5 p.m. is (903) 510-2222.
1. Lock your doors when you take a nap or retire for the evening. Do not block open-entry doors to residence halls after hours.
2. Require identification before admitting someone unfamiliar into your residence or your vehicle.
3. Avoid walking alone at night, if possible, and stay on lighted routes.
4. Report suspicious persons or circumstances. This could stop a crime before it happens.
Written by Belen Casillas
Editor-in-Chief Fall 2012