Lindenwood University-Belleville issued two alerts to students, faculty and staff in September indicating two sexual assaults had occurred on campus, but only one of those reports was forwarded to police and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office declined to issue charges.
Belleville Police confirmed they received the report Sept. 10 from a person who said she was assaulted.
Police said the complainant who reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 refused to contact police, and no report was made.
According to LUB’s campus security director Tom Coppotelli, the university issues alerts in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Act, a federal law requiring colleges that receive federal funding to share information about reports of crimes on their campuses.
Two reports of sexual assaults were made on the Belleville campus in September, but the student in one report declined to give a statement to police. In the other report, prosecutors did not press charges, because they could not prove an assault had occurred.
Coppotelli said the university follows up on those alerts in certain circumstances to keep students, faculty and staff updated in emergency situations. He said the two reports from September were not considered emergencies by the time they were reported to university staff.
In the Sept. 10 report, the complainant named someone as a suspect, who cooperated with police.
“Our main concern is the safety of our campus, the safety of our students and staff,” Coppotelli said. “It wasn’t like there was a mad, crazed person running around. There’s not a lot of urgency there.”
Coppotelli could not share information about the Sept. 19 report. Belleville Police said they were notified of the assault, but the complainant refused to file a police report.
Our main concern is the safety of our campus, the safety of our students and staff. It wasn’t like there was a mad, crazed person running around. There’s not a lot of urgency there.
Lindenwood Belleville campus security director Tom Coppotelli
In the Sept. 10 report, a female student told police she had been drinking with friends and returned to campus for the night with them and another male.
The female student told police she was tired and agreed to go to the male student’s dorm room to sleep on a spare bed rather than in her own dorm because her roommate wanted to be alone for the night with her boyfriend. She told police all she remembered after that was kissing with the male student and telling him “no” each time he tried to take off her pants.
According to the report, the female student stated she was crying while the male student had sex with her. She said after the sex, the male student went into the shower. She said she gathered her clothes and phoned her roommate to tell the roommate that she was coming back.
According to a police report, the male student later asked the female student, “You are not going to do something legal and ruin both our lives, are you?”
The female student reported seeing the male student afterward. The female student, in her interview with police, said the male student told her that he was disgusted with himself and asked her, “You are not going to do something legal and ruin both our lives, are you?”
One of the female student’s roommates told Belleville Police on Sept. 15 that the female student returned to their dorm and said “I had sex and did not want to.” The roommate told police she didn’t think the female student would do anything about the matter and reported that the female student “continued to go out and party” in the week afterward, the police report stated.
A third roommate made a report to the coach of the female student’s sports team.
A student who drove the group back to campus told police in an interview on Sept. 15 he told the male student to “be a gentlemen” when he and the female student left because they both were drunk. The driver also reported that, four days later, the female student told him she did not remember anything because “her body was not letting her remember.”
In an interview with police on Sept. 16, the male student told police the sex was consensual. According to the police report, the male student stated the female student never said “no” and never cried. He said that the female student “is known to have hookups with guys” and “is promiscuous,” the report stated.
He also told police he hadn’t slept since a university alert was issued and was “confused about why it has gone this far” because “they had consensual sex.”
According to a statement made by St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Conner, who declined to pursue charges against the male student, “I looked for evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this sex wasn’t consensual. I can’t meet my burden.”
“(The female student) doesn’t report the incident to authorities. Another roommate reports it to a coach,” Conner wrote.
Conner also highlighted inconsistencies in police interviews about how much the female student had to drink the night of the assault, and also that the female student has “a reputation for sleeping around” and “continues to go out and party after the incident.”