UPDATE: Suspect arrested in reported Sexual Assault at Lee University
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) – A 17-year-old is behind bars, charged in connection with the sexual assault that occurred at Lee University on Sunday, October 7, 2018.
The male juvenile was charged with Aggravated Rape.
Cleveland Police officials say “Thanks to a collective effort between the Cleveland Police investigators, Lee University Campus Security and the District Attorney’s Office, the suspect was swiftly identified, located and arrested.”
A sexual assault was reported Sunday afternoon at Lee University and Cleveland Police are investigating.
Victoria Wilcher says, “It’s a safe campus we don’t expect things to happen like that.”
The Cleveland Police Department is investigating a reported sexual assault at Lee University.
Many students we spoke with, like Wilcher, says they were shocked to hear that a female student reported being approached by a man with a knife, who was demanding sex.
“Being female, I guess, I was just like wow! It’s hard for me to even be independent and walk across my own campus,” says Wilcher.
The report says it happened in the Ceramics Room in Mayfield Annex.
Wilcher says that’s a building near the back of campus on a day where the area is not as populated as normal.
“We are working with students faculty and staff to ensure that we not only increase security presence it around campus but within this area as well we have staff that additionally for it to make sure that students do feel safe when they got going about their day-to-day activities,” says Brinkman.
Matthew Brinkman, the head of the security department, says they are doing what they can to keep the campus as safe.
He says, “one thing that Lee University prides itself on is our low crime rate. When you look at our crime statistics, compared to other universities, you will see that we have very low crime. Our violent crime is near rock bottom but with that being said unfortunately Lee University is not immune to these incidents. ”
The student who reported the attack is working with local and campus authorities to identify the suspect.
“If you do have to go somewhere by yourself contact our department and we will be glad to give a safety escort to and from dorms or to and from classes. Whatever the student needs.”
If you see any suspicious activity, you are asked report it to Campus Security (423.303.4444) or the Cleveland Police Department immediately.
These are the precautions officials listed in the alert sent to all students:
- Get to a safe place
- Contact law enforcement immediately
- Preserve any evidence
- Consider the resources available to you through the university
The letter also read, “know that we are committed to protecting our campus and are working with local authorities to apprehend the assailant quickly. If you have any information, please feel free to contact me, and we’ll follow up diligently.”
Officials say they released this in compliance with the Clery Act.
It requires that they send this notification regarding a serious incident in a timely manner.
The school sent this statement:
“Pursuant to the timely notice guidance outlined by the Clery Act, a notice was sent to our campus community Sunday evening regarding an incident that was reported to Campus Security and the Cleveland Police Department. A sexual assault was reported in one of our campus buildings by one of our students. The incident is under investigation, so progress of that is not open for discussion, but we do not have information that anyone has been apprehended.
The purpose for this notice was to apprise our campus family that this incident had occurred and to let them know that the assailant was still at large, and therefore, to take measures to remain safe and vigilant.
There are many staff whose focus right now is the wellbeing of the victim of this attack. Likewise there are many others whose only focus has been and will continue to be the ongoing safety of our other students and employees. Steps are being taken to heighten security across campus and to remind students and staff to be on alert and report suspicious behavior or persons to the authorities.
Our prayers are foremost with this student, but also with others for whom this event will create concern, as it reminds us that because we are in a community where this kind of incident seems rare, we are certainly not immune to it.”