An 18-year-old Loyola University freshman was held on $300,000 bond after being charged with raping two female students in a campus dormitory.
Student Colin Kennedy, from California, is accused of assaulting the women, whom he knew, in their rooms in Fordham Hall at 6455 N. Sheridan Rd. on separate nights over the weekend of Jan. 12, according to an email to the Loyola community from Vice President of Student Development Robert Kelly.
In an email statement to the Phoenix, Maeve Kiley, the university’s spokesperson said that “Colin is no longer enrolled as a student.”
Kiley noted that the university is still in the process of gathering information regarding the case.
Kennedy was arrested shortly after midnight on Jan. 27, and was taken into custody in the 6100 block of N. Broadway without resisting, according to Police News Affairs officer Daniel O’Brien.
Kelly has urged the Loyola community to seek help from university resources if they or someone they know become victims of sexual assault. The email also noted that the incidents were reported on Jan. 26.
In the face of student criticism that the university should have alerted the campus of the incident sooner, Kiley said information is still incomplete.
“We are still trying to get all the details ourselves. It just so happens [the university] got wind of it from the court hearing. We just had to verify the information and the facts,” Kiley said. “We didn’t want to send something out prematurely.”
When asked about the university’s next steps, Kiley said university officials are “going to be focused on taking care of the victims and to ensure the safety of other students … and let the students know they’re here to help them.”
Kennedy’s lawyer, David Kerr, voiced his concerns with the case against Kennedy.
“It needs to be known in this case that there was a delayed outcry …Why did they [victims] wait so long to tell anyone on campus, why did they not call 911 or CPD or Campus Police?” Kerr said. “They waited to do so, and when they finally did [tell authorities], they did it together.”
Kennedy is pictured in various images related to the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity on Loyola’s campus on Facebook, but an email statement to the Phoenix from the TKE national office refuted rumors of Kennedy’s membership, stating that the suspect “is not now, nor ever been a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.”
Some feel that the university’s delay in reporting this event to students is unacceptable.
Megan Niedringhaus, a senior and secondary education major, expressed her concern with the university’s actions and how students are handling this situation.
“I found it beyond frustrating that Loyola didn’t alert the student body about what had occurred sooner, or at the very least didn’t notify the other residents of Fordham,” Niedringhaus, 21, said.
“As a survivor of sexual assault, hearing almost a month later that something like this happened on my campus not only makes me feel completely unsafe, but hearing something like this happened just two blocks from where I live brought up that same kind of post-traumatic fear I had experienced after I was attacked. It also sends the message that the university didn’t think informing the student body what was going on was a priority,” she said.
Niedringhaus’ sexual assault case occurred in 2009 after she graduated from high school, and before attending Loyola.
Annie Gudorf, an ad/PR major, is also upset with the way the university went about telling the community.
“I think that they handled it really poorly because I feel like they wouldn’t have told the student body unless it was in the newspapers. They were even quoted in an article stating that they didn’t need to tell the student body, [but] it’s all about transparency — especially when you’re running a university with thousands of students in one place,” said Gudorf, 21. “We need to know what’s going on so that we can be aware and protect ourselves.”
CARE, Loyola’s sexual health advocacy group, released a statement regarding this incident, expressing concern for the survivors and urging the university community to respond with compassion.
“We stand in solidarity with the survivors of the incident and want to extend our support and compassion to these and all survivors. Building a culture of peace requires responding with compassion and respect,” said CARE in an email statement to The Phoenix.
At press time, Kennedy had posted bail of $300,000, and was released from detention. According to Kennedy’s lawyer, Kennedy is “…presumed innocent, vehemently denies guilt, and looks forward to his day in court and looks forward to his trial.”
The date of Kennedy’s next hearing is unclear as of press time.
University President Fr. Michael J. Garanzini could not be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Molly Brewer and Tyler Langan