Alleged Sexual Assault Images Posted On Social Media

By
Susan Tebben - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Mon, Oct 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Photo Credit: 
Jasmine Beaubien
Court Street at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio

An alleged sexual assault of a woman is being investigated by the Athens Police Department after reports of the incident already made its way around social media websites over the weekend

Photos and a video turned up on various Twitter accounts over the weekend of images of a man allegedly giving oral sex to a woman against the Chase Bank building on Court Street.

Police would not confirm rumored details of the investigation, but did confirm that a report came in late Sunday night of sexual assault, according to Cpt. Ralph Harvey.

The initial report was not available because the records department was closed during the Columbus Day holiday on Monday.

"I don't know that we have a set time yet," Harvey said, referring to when the incident actually happened. "But we have a time frame we're working with."

The alleged assault happened sometime this weekend, Harvey said, but the complaint was filed well after the incident happened. Police are also still investigating the location of the alleged assault.

"I would hesitate to confirm any location yet, mainly because it's active and things change," Harvey said. "I do encourage anyone who has actual information that thinks it could help to contact investigators."

The initial report has been forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Unit, which will continue the investigation Monday. The report will reportedly be available Tuesday.

"Before then, I'm hoping we'll have something we can release," Harvey said.

There is no "specific known threat" to the public, according to Harvey, but said citizens should always be mindful of their surroundings and be aware of suspicious activity.

Harvey could not confirm whether alcohol was being considered a factor in the case.

"We're looking at every aspect and everything that could possibly be a factor," Harvey said. "Whether (alcohol) was a factor or not may or may not have a bearing on the investigation, so it's not something we would focus on, especially initially."

Although Harvey acknowledged discussion of the incident going on in social media — though he said he had not seen any of the posts — he said third- and fourth-hand accounts should not be taken seriously.

"Any videos have to viewed with a grain of salt, even if they are the actual videos, because while it's generally believed the video doesn't lie, it's one perspective on something," Harvey said.

Harvey could not confirm whether investigators had the videos that were reportedly on the social media website Instagram. Links to the videos have since been removed.

"I would encourage people to be patient," Harvey said. "A lot of times you get some piece of evidence that's the 'smoking gun' when in reality that leads you to something else that makes you question something else you thought was an absolute, positive truth and maybe it's not."

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