The Canyon Police Department investigation into two sexual assaults at a Fraternity near WT campus has been redirected.
During the investigation, law enforcement determined that the individuals involved were exercising their rights in accordance with state law, to have a precautionary medical exam conducted.
The exams were self initiated and no law enforcement intervention was intended. However, law enforcement was notified to take a police report, without a request from the individuals involved.
The Canyon Police Department has not closed the cases, but has changed direction of the investigation.
Canyon Police will now be investigating who was allowing and furnishing alcohol to minors at the party. Pin-pointing one specific person in this matter will require many investigative interviews.
Officials report that underage drinking at this fraternity house has been an ongoing concern and has resulted in the issuance of citations to minors in the past.
Further details on this case and any case involving allegation of sexual assault is protected by the Texas Open Records Act. To assure compliance, this will be the final information distributed on this investigation.
But before Canyon Police released any information, it was university police who broke the news.
In fact, West Texas A&M University Police had to do so in a timely manner under the Jeanne Clery Act. It’s a law that’s been around for nearly three decades. It requires universities that receive federal funding to provide students with information about campus-related crimes, like sexual assault, homicide and robberies.
Sgt. Jack Hildebrand says there have been debates whether these notifications interfere with police investigations, but it’s ultimately about student safety.
“We’re giving the campus community the opportunity to maybe change their behaviors, to consider their personal safety and to maybe do things to prevent those crimes from happening to them here on the campus,” Sgt. Hildebrand said. “We’re trying to keep that from having more victims.”
Congress felt so strongly about the law, they gave it what Hildebrand calls “teeth.”
If they don’t report these kinds of crimes within 72 hours from when they happened, the university could be fined a minimum of $35,000 for each case.
The Jeanne Clery Act was named after a student who was killed at a Pennsylvania University in 1986. Authorities say her death could’ve been prevented had she and the rest of the student body been better informed.