MARAIS JACON-DUFFY | News Editor
Viviane Linos was surprised to discover the rape of another student by a fellow Butler student had allegedly occurred before the beginning of winter break. What concerned Linos more was the fact she found out about the incident by way of Butler Confessions, an anonymous social media page.
Linos, a junior, then discovered an online news article by RTV6 describing some details of the reported incident. A few days later, the story by RTV6 was removed from its website.
On Dec. 20, Linos posted a status on her Facebook page that said, “Why the fu– has BUPD and the Butler University administration not done S–T to bring awareness to this issue and send out a ‘timely warning’ email which could potentially prevent further harm done by this bastard? If a student forcefully fondled by an African American community member is worthy of a ‘timely warning’ email, then why the hell is a confirmed CRIME involving two Butler students insignificant?”
A university press release confirmed the Butler University Police Department was alerted to an alleged sexual assault of a female student by a male student on Dec. 8, 2013. No other details could be provided at that time, because “federal law prohibited it,” according to the press release.
A separate rape by force was reported off campus Jan. 19 and was documented in BUPD’s Jan. 17-21 crime log.
According to the crime log, the accused suspects in both have been identified.
Chief of Staff Ben Hunter said BUPD’s timely warnings are issued in cases where a suspect poses an immediate threat or a situation is considered an emergency.
Linos, who said she has worked with campus groups to help reevaluate sexual assault policy on Butler’s campus, said she perceives a lack of communication regarding sexual assault and violence as a decision to protect the reputation of the school.
“I am disappointed with the disconnect that is sometimes present when the university has to choose between maintaining its image and doing what’s right for the students,” Linos said. “That created a portion of the emotion and frustration that came out in my (Facebook) status a while back.”
Hunter said he understands the frustration that revolves around cases of rape and sexual assault.
“There’s a lot of angst that people feel with these cases,” Hunter said. “But not as personally as the survivor, obviously.”
Hunter said, in some cases, sexual assault or rape survivors request that a timely warning is not sent out to the community.
Butler is required to report incidents which “pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community,” as written in the university’s Civil Rights Equity Grievance Resolution Process for Faculty, Students and Staff.
The policy, developed in line the One Policy, One Process model, became effective at the start of 2014. The revised policy is the same policy that previously applied to students, but now also applies to faculty and staff. In addition to the Title IX policy, which governs university action, Butler students who are accused of sexual assault also have the potential to be prosecuted under Indiana state code.
Every sexual assault case involves the Marion County prosecutor’s office, Hunter said. Whether or not charges are brought against the suspect is at the discretion of the county prosecutor’s office.
The burden of proof under Indiana code differs from that outlined in the Butler administrative policy, said Bill Weber, BUPD assistant police chief.
“The difference of proving guilt is like a teeter totter,” Weber said. “With a criminal case in the county or state court, the teeter totter must tip all the way over and prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. On the student conduct side, the teeter totter only has to tip a little bit to one side and prove a preponderance of evidence of guilt, or a simple majority of 51 percent.”
Therefore, a student’s status of guilt could differ in a criminal court and in the eyes of a university due to a lowered threshold, Hunter said.
Regarding locations on campus where sexual assaults have occurred, Hunter said BUPD will investigate any case that is brought to them.
“It doesn’t matter if the incident takes place in southern Indiana, a criminal proceeding will happen no matter what,” Hunter said.
Hunter and Weber said they were not at liberty to discuss either of the rape cases from December or January due to rules outlined in FERPA and out of respect for the investigation.
“These are tough cases for all involved,” Hunter said. “For the survivor and for the accused. We know this is something that is underreported but when it is reported to (BUPD), we do our best to investigate the case thoroughly.”