No charges in alleged Marquette sexual assaults
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office has decided not to file charges in connection with two separate allegations of sexual assaults at Marquette University.
Both alleged incidents involved student athletes and neither was reported to police immediately after the details were given to campus safety officials.
A statement by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says campus safety officials had an obligation under state law to report the incidents to police because they are not a police force but failed to do so.
The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing, Division of Enforcement, reviewed the matter and decided not to take any action against the college. Marquette has since put new rules into place that require all safety officials to report such accusations directly to police.
The statement by District Attorney John Chisholm scolds the college for not giving the Milwaukee Police Department a chance to immediately investigate all angles of the alleged crimes, saying "The process of reporting is a crucial period of time for victims to learn about available options and services and to hopefully make informed decisions about what to do in the wake of an assault."
"The more that the partners in public safety, working with the community, perform their duties professionally and collaboratively, the better our opportunity for immediate, thorough, and ultimately fruitful investigations that will hold more offenders accountable and make victims feel safer and more comfortable about reporting sexual abuse."
Coaches Knew About Allegations
The first incident reviewed by campus safety officials happened in October 2010. A female student reported to the college that she was assaulted by several student athletes on campus.
District Attorney Chisholm says the investigation by his office has yielded information that shows members of the coaching staff received information about the incident and even met with suspected athletes to discuss the allegations.
Milwaukee police did not begin investigating the alleged crime until March 2011.
The second assault was reported by a female student to campus safety officials in February of 2011. The suspect was another male Marquette student athlete.
Again the officials did not immediately notify police of the incident.
Chisholm says "An immediate and thorough police investigation of this incident might have yielded additional compelling evidence."
Marquette University Dean of Students Stephanie Quade said the incidents prompted them to change their policy. The University met with the District Attorney and Milwaukee Police about how the incidents were handled, and promises nothing like this will ever happen again.
"We are not proud of these incidents, or the way these incidents were handled," Quade said. "We've changed the policy, so Public Safety, now when they learn about a sexual assault case or about any incident of sexual violence, they will contact the Milwaukee Police Department."