September 8, 2014

Cornell Police: No Charges Filed Against Student Accused of Rape at Victim’s Request

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A Cornell student accused of rape was referred to a University Title IX coordinator last month, according to the Cornell University Police Department.

At the request of the victim, police will not pursue criminal charges against the student, according to CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner, who said the details of the case could not be revealed because it is still active.

The rape reportedly occurred on Oct. 26, 2013 on West Campus at South Baker Hall, according to police. Zoner said the victim came forward about the attack in July and the alleged perpetrator was referred to Mary Beth Grant J.D. ’88 — who is the Title IX coordinator for student reports — on Aug. 27.

Reported sexual assault cases are referred to a Title IX coordinator rather than Cornell’s judicial administrator,according to University policy 6.4, which deals with discrimination, harassment and sexual assault and violence. For student cases, individuals are referred to Grant, who is also the judicial administrator.

Still, despite going through Grant, Zoner said the procedure is different than being referred to Cornell’s judicial administrator.

Zoner said that while the University and federal agencies have encouraged victims to report sexual assault cases, she said there are “good reasons why someone might not want to report.”

“It’s not unusual for victims of sexual assault to delay reporting or seek any legal remedy for an assault,” Zoner said, adding that bringing such cases to light can have an emotional toll.

In addition, Zoner said victims who report sexual assault are often faced with a “very prolonged and difficult journey.”

“It can also take a long time for a case to come to conclusion, and a person’s focus on school, life and their energies can be sucked up by that,” Zoner said.

She added that the University is aware that the rate of sexual assaults is higher than the number of reports received by Cornell.

“Cornell Police, along with our University partners, are working hard to change the perceptions around reporting sexual assault to reduced the burdens to holding perpetrators accountable,” Zoner said.