Hocking College President Speaks Out About Rape Investigation

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More than a week after allegations of a sex offense were reported at Hocking College, the president says the college is not done investigating, contrary to a spokesperson’s previous statements.

In a letter to staff and students of the college sent Wednesday and obtained by WOUB, Betty Young said a Title IX investigation is ongoing regarding the incident.

“We took this allegation seriously and immediately contacted the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office to conduct the investigation,” Young wrote. “We continue to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office.”

The allegation was made in an incident report filed Sept. 1 with the Hocking College Police Department. A woman said she had been drinking at a party on Ohio University’s campus before going back to her residence at Hocking College.

The alleged victim said a group of males helped her get into her apartment and she woke up the next morning naked with five naked males in her bed, according to the report.

She contacted a counselor at the college, who then referred her to the college’s advocacy center. She was then told to talk to police.

A Hocking College spokesperson told WOUB on Tuesday that the investigation into the incident was over.

“No arrest, no crime,” Michael Brown, executive director of public relations for the college, told WOUB in an interview.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, however, said the claim that the investigation was closed was “false,” and confirmed that an investigation was still ongoing within his office.

Young did not discuss details of the case in her statement to students and staff, maintaining that no arrests have been made and no charges filed.

But she went on to say that if the college felt the incident had the potential to be a threat to students, the college would have utilized their emergency alert system.

“The college is not aware of any facts in this recent case that would lead to a campus safety alert,” Young wrote.

Young cited social media reports about the incident, calling them “erroneous.”

“We caution students about these reports as misinformation fuels speculation and fear playing on emotions,” Young said.

This comes after Brown told WOUB that reports of the incident by social media sources should be “taken with a grain of salt.”

Young discussed building a community acting as “brothers and sisters keepers,” and defended the police department’s efforts to be a beneficial part of the community.

“(The police’s) effort along with our individual efforts offered in a spirit of helping each other be safe will create a campus culture of respect for all and enhance the safety of our campus,” she said.

Young advised staff and students to be careful with the information they share online and provided resources available to Hocking College for counseling or other services.