University and Philadelphia Police have identified a single suspect in the alleged attempted rape at the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house, a Philadelphia Police spokesperson said yesterday. At the same time, Philadelphia Police reports reveal discrepancies between when University Police learned of the incident and when they reported it to the University community. University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich admitted last night that the department did not inform the community about the incident as quickly as it should have, blaming the delay on a flawed reporting system within the department. Philadelphia Police officer Dorothy Kearsey said the victim of the alleged crime, a Harvard University student, has identified the person she says attacked her. Kearsey said police have already questioned the suspect and plan to give him a lie detector test. Kearsey would not say if the suspect is a brother of the fraternity or if police might charge him with the crime. Kuprevich, who has been out of town most of this week, was not sure if the suspect was a University student. Kearsey and Harvard University Police Chief Paul Johnson both said the victim reported the incident to Harvard Police, who then reported it to University Police. Johnson said the victim has since taken a leave of absence from Harvard. Neither Johnson nor the Harvard Police detective investigating the case would comment further. Kearsey said Philadelphia Police have been in contact with both the victim and her family. According to Kearsey, the victim did not report the January 26 incident to Harvard Police until March 19, almost two months later. Kearsey said Harvard Police notified University Police, who then notified the Philadelphia Police Sex Crimes division on March 29. But in the weekly crime log sent to the Almanac, University Police state that the crime was reported on April 2, three days after Sex Crimes was notified. Kuprevich said the unusual nature of the incident led to this difference. He said University Police have deferred to Sex Crimes in the investigation, adding that both University and Philadelphia Police spent the three days talking to the victim to determine if she wanted to go forward with a complaint. "It wasn't really clear what the complainant wanted to do in the case," Kuprevich said late last night. He said the April 2 date represents the time the two departments decided they had enough information to start a formal investigation of the case. Victim Support Services Director Ruth Wells said yesterday she knew of the incident by March 29, when she first contacted the victim. Wells said she is talking with the victim regularly. The department and the administration in general have come under fire from student leaders for how they report sexual assaults to the University community. At University Council's monthly meeting last week, both Safety and Security Committee Chairperson Jeffrey Jacobson and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Chairperson Susan Garfinkel criticized President Sheldon Hackney for not making more information on the incident available to the University community. Jacobson said at Council that University Police never mentioned the incident to his committee even though it had met April 5, a full week after the department notified Philadelphia Police. And the April 2 date police listed in the blotter meant the incident appeared in Almanac a week later than it would have if police listed it for March 29. This is the third time this semester University Police have not offered information on campus sexual assault reports in a timely manner. Kuprevich was not immediately available for comment on a reported December sexual assault at the Medical School even though he made himself the official department spokesperson on the matter. Last month, University Police failed to inform a DP reporter of an attempted rape of a University employee when he made his routine check for weekend crimes. Only after DP staff members learned of the incident independently and asked Kuprevich about it directly did the department provide any information on the crime. University Police, like most police departments on college campuses, choose not to make their incident reports public. Rather than viewing reports directly, reporters and other members of the community must rely on police spokespeople for information. But Kuprevich said last night the department has never tried to cover up any reported crimes. "Our policy has never been to hide anything that's been reported to us," he said. "Our community needs to know about crimes that are going on." He attributed the lack of notification to the DP and the Safety and Security Committe to an oversight and said the department is trying to build trust with the community. But he admitted the incident "shows a flaw in our system of reporting things." "The clear paths of communication are not completely set up," he said. "They just are not. But we're getting there." Former Safety and Security Chairperson Helen Davies said last night, however, that the University Police Department seems to have informed the committee regularly about these cases. "I think they have been extremely good about it," she said. Davies and Wells said it is not unusual that the victim did not notify authorities of the incident until well after it occurred. Wells said victims of sexual assaults, especially on a college campus, may fear harassment, intimidation or will blame themselves for the incident. In addition, Wells said they may feel reluctant to charge an acquaintance with a crime that carries prison sentences. Davies said the University's counseling services and Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape are reducing this problem, but other schools may not have similar support systems.Comments powered by Disqus
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