Ten serious sex offenses occurred on Le Moyne’s campus last year, up more than double from the previous year, according to the 2016 report on campus crime and safety. In past years that number has been zero. The number of sex offenses in 2015 on Le Moyne’s campus is equal to the total of the previous eight years combined.
On Thursday, Sept. 20, 2016 Le Moyne published the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report which shows that in 2015 there were five counts of reported rape, all of which occurred on campus in residential facilities, and five counts of forcible fondling, only two of which occurred on campus in a residential facility.
The number of forcible sex offenses in 2015 is the highest Le Moyne College has seen since 2007, the earliest date detailed in Le Moyne’s online reports. This number has more than doubled since 2014, when there were only four incidents of forcible sex offenses reported. In 2013 and 2012 none were reported. In 2011 there were four, in 2010 there was one, and 2009 there was one. In both the years of 2008 and 2007, no sexual crimes were reported. Before 2015, all reported forcible sex offenses occurred on campus in residential facilities.
On page 8 of the 2016 report, forcible fondling is defined as “the [nonconsensual] touching of private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification.” A forcible sex offense includes rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and fondling. In 2014 and preceding years, all four categories were grouped together as one statistic. Beginning in 2015 there are two separate categories in for rape and forcible fondling.
Publication of the report every year by Oct. 1 is in accordance with the Clery Act of 1990. The Clery Act was put into place as a result of the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery in her dorm room by fellow students at Lehigh University in 1986. The federal law requires every college in the nation receiving federal funding with campus housing to report and publish crime statistics. These statistics are collected annually according to the calendar year, not according to the academic year.
The accuracy of the statistics are only as correct as the data reported to Le Moyne security. Campus security collaborates with the police departments of Syracuse and Dewitt to cross reference reports of incidents that happen on campus and surrounding areas. There are several individuals who are required to report events to campus security, such as RAs and security officers. Security then gathers all the reports to create and publish a comprehensive summary of the data in the annual report.
So, is the number of sex offenses increasing, or just the number of reports?
Director of Le Moyne Security Mark Petterelli believes it’s the latter. Petterelli suggests the higher numbers are a result of a changing culture on campus for more victims to come forward. Le Moyne is committed to creating a more welcoming environment for victims of rape and assault and providing them with better resources for recovery, counselling, and medical health.
When asked about this issue, junior Sara Yale said, “I wouldn’t report [sexual assault] because I wouldn’t know where to go.”
This information can be found in the 2016 Report on pages 915, which feature a lengthy description of the differing types of sexual assault, along with advice and directions for victims on pages 1516. Contact information, for both confidential and non confidential, on campus and off campus resources are available on pages 1718.
Seven out of the ten reports of sex offenses [including all five counts of rape] occurred in residential facilities, which include all resident halls, townhouses, and apartments. During the academic year, these facilities are home to the majority of Le Moyne students. Three reports of forcible fondling occurred on campus but outside of residential facilities.
Petterelli says “overall safety starts with the individual.” He encourages students to look over these reports to be aware of security in their academic home and points out value aside from statistics; the reports provide information on our standards as a school and a community, along with various resources and reporting mechanisms on campus. Programs such as “Relationships 101” for incoming freshmen are helping to increase education regarding sexual assault recognition, prevention, and aid. There is also a campus wide push to encourage bystander intervention.
Petterelli says these reports help security decide how to make campus safer for students to learn and grow. The spike in sex offenses has not gone unnoticed, and action must be taken not only to uncover the true amount of incidents, but also to prevent them in the future.
The 2016 report is available online here, along with previous reports dating back to 2010 that show data from as early as 2007. Students will receive an email when the hard copy of the 2016 Report becomes available after the weekend of Oct. 1. Hard copies will be available in multiple locations including the Security Office and the Office of Human Resources. Included in the 2016 report are definitions of the crimes required to be reported by the Clery Act, the Students’ Bill of Rights, and Le Moyne’s Policy for Sexual Misconduct.
Following are Le Moyne’s confidential support options, also available on page 17 of 2016 report: Wellness Center for Health (315)445-4440, Wellness Center for Counselling (315)445-4195 24, and hour confidential hotline (315)251-SAFE.