Person of interest in custody following alleged sexual assault on campus

By Cory Lesniak

An 18-year-old female freshman reported being sexually assaulted on campus on Oct. 11. The River Forest Police department and university officials say they are investigating.

The student reported the assault Saturday to Campus Security officers. RFPD officers were dispatched to Dominican at 10:05 a.m.

At the student’s request, she was taken to a nearby hospital to be further evaluated; the evaluation included a rape kit.

Dominican President Donna Carroll said the student has returned from the hospital.

The assault happened in one of Dominican’s residence halls and, according to university officials, the offender was a visitor to the campus. University officials declined to say in which hall the assault occurred, or provide additional details about the incident.

“We do know who was involved.” Carroll added, “We take these events very serious. We responded accordingly and are working with the police.”

Police on Monday were also declining to release details. “It is still an ongoing investigation,” RFPD Chief Greg Weiss said.

The person of interest turned himself on Monday. RFPD detectives are awaiting members from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Felony Review Unit.

“We will conduct an interview and follow-up with witnesses,” said James O’Shea, deputy chief of police.

The Dominican community was not notified about the attack until the official statement from Dominican, which was posted on Campus News late Sunday.

Dean of Students Trudi Goggin said there was no need to send an alert message to students and staff on campus over the weekend because there was no “immediate danger” to the students on campus.

“The individual was already identified and there was no impending danger on campus,” Goggin said. “The text messaging is about duty to warn so that you don’t drive into a danger. This person won’t be able to do this to anyone else on campus.” Goggin said.

The offender has been banned from campus according to university officials.

This incident came after Dominican launched its recently revised sexual assault policies, as required by federal Title IX legislation.

If a sexual assault occurs, the victim has the choice to file a report or not. If the victim chooses to file a report, he/she can do so through the online reporting system.

Chief Diversity Officer Christiana Perez confirmed that a report was filed after the incident.

Carroll said security on campus is priority especially in the late night hours in the resident halls. Assaults on campus are rare but are taken very seriously, she said.

“We always review all security protocols and all aspects of the incident and assess what worked and what didn’t work. Sexual assault is an issue we take very seriously; security is part of it. Having an informed and well educated student body is part of it,” Carroll said.

This story has been updated.

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