SSU discloses reported rape near university lakes

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Sonoma State University Police Department is investigating a report of a rape last week — the second in a month — at the northern part of its Rohnert Park campus, according to an email sent this week to university staff and students.

The rape was reported near a pair of lakes located near the art building sometime between 11 p.m. Sept. 5 and 3 a.m. Sept. 6, the email said. Campus police learned of the rape on Tuesday afternoon, hours before the email to school staff and students was sent, the email and police crimes logs show.

Paul Gullixson, a university spokesman, on Thursday declined to provide more details about the incident while the university continues its investigation.

Last month, university officials issued another notification, referred to as a timely warning, about a reported rape at an on-campus residence on Aug 16. In that incident, a woman told police the suspect was a recent acquaintance she had met on social media. The university issues the warnings to comply with the Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act, a federal law that mandates colleges and universities to alert campus communities about crimes.

SSU campus police have investigated at least two other rapes at the campus this year, including one reported in April that involved a student who said she was raped on campus by a man she met on a dating website, university officials said.

In January, a woman said she was raped in a university dorm by an acquaintance who may have put a chemical in her drink, SSU officials said. In that case, university officials declined to say whether either victim or suspects were students.

Five rapes were reported to the Sonoma State University Police Department in 2016, according to an annual security report published last year. That number doubled to 10 in 2017, according to the report.

Last weekend, Sonoma State University senior Lauren Quinn held a march and rally on campus to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent. She said in a previous interview with The Press Democrat that she started organizing the event after she noticed the increase in reported rapes on the college campus through timely warnings.

The Clery Act requires the university to make public campus crimes statistics for 2018 by Oct. 1.

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