No charges in alleged sex assault near Ohio campus
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — A grand jury decided not to charge anyone in an alleged sexual assault near Ohio University that was photographed and filmed by witnesses, a prosecutor said Monday.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the grand jury determined there wasn’t probable cause to file charges after a man and woman were photographed in a sex act against the front window of a bank near the Ohio campus in the wee hours of Oct. 12. Explicit photos of them were circulated via social media, and the woman later told police she was a victim of a sexual assault.
Investigators determined the couple, both 20-year-old students, had alcohol from a bar before the sex act, Blackburn said in a statement Monday. Blackburn said the man asked the woman whether to stop the act when a crowd formed, and she said no.
The man has cooperated with police. The woman didn’t remember what happened, and testing showed no sign of any “date rape drug,” Blackburn said.
He said the couple wasn’t aware at the time that their act was being filmed.
“Every decision we make now has the potential to be placed on Twitter, Facebook, commented on, shared and embellished, making life today more public than ever before,” Blackburn said in the statement. “If a lesson exists from this case, let it be that we should behave as if our family is always watching.”
University President Roderick McDavis had said the school would conduct its own investigation and, if appropriate, would take action to hold people accountable. He said that some of the response within the university community had been divisive and that he hoped instead it would inspire greater caring at the campus.
Photographs circulated online also played a big role in a rape case in eastern Ohio as Steubenville police investigated two high school football players. A judge convicted the teens of rape in March.