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Student’s Sexual Assault Report Gets Lost in System

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Days After.

A female Loyola student who said she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus apartment by a male Loyola student whom she knew, told The PHOENIX she believes Loyola administrators and Campus Safety mishandled her situation.

The student said she filed a report with Campus Safety, but never heard from the administrator in charge of following up on reports — Associate Dean of Students and Interim Title IX Deputy Coordinator Tim Love — until she reached out many days later.

The alleged sexual assault occurred Sept. 16 between 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. The female student, who spoke to The PHOENIX on the condition that she remain anonymous, said the male picked her up from Bar 63 — near Lake Shore Campus — took her to his place and had nonconsensual sex with her.

“I was at 63, I got really intoxicated,” she said. “I remember sitting on the bed, him giving me water and food and then I remember him having sex with me and me crying.”

Later that day, at about 2 p.m., the student went to Campus Safety with her roommate to speak with an officer. The student said she felt relieved after filing a report with Campus Safety. But she said her relief soon disappeared when she found out her report was not filed to the office of the Dean of Students.

Under Illinois law, universities must respond to electronically submitted reports within 12 hours. Love said Loyola attempts to hold itself to that standard with all reports, but its internal goal is to respond to in-person reports within one business day.

However, after four days of not hearing from the school, the female student spoke with her assigned Loyola Rape Victim Advocate, who acts as a support system to students and provides them with the proper resources. The advocate put the student in contact with Love.

After the conversation with the student on Sept. 20, Love discovered that her report had never been filed with the administration.

“I was furious and let down,” the student said. “[Love] was like, ‘We’re so sorry,’ and asked if I had any more questions. I was like, ‘Yeah, can I get a no contact directive? Do something, please,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, we can do that.’”

After their phone conversation, Love sent out a no contact directive within hours to the male student, according to the female student. A no contact directive — which notifies a student that he or she is not allowed to contact a specific student — is issued by the Dean of Students and enforced by Campus Safety. If the student who receives a directive violates the request, that student could be found responsible for a conduct violation.

Later that day, Love followed up with the student to say her report was found, but that he was not sure why it had not been filed within his office, according to the female student.

“[Love] said there was an error in the chain of command. An officer called someone, leaving the report on a voicemail instead of filing it into the system,” the female student said. “I feel like it is really not okay that they just left a voicemail [about my case] on someone’s machine.”

The student met with Love on Sept. 22 to discuss the conduct hearing process, during which there is an investigation and a hearing that could last up to 60 days and end in possible discipline for the male student. The female student agreed to go through the conduct hearing process as opposed to doing nothing or filing a report with the Chicago Police Department.

The female student said she did not hear from Love again until he emailed her on Sept. 29 to inform her the university was in the process of launching an investigation. The student said Love told her he was having trouble assigning investigators because they are all volunteers, so it takes a little longer to find people willing to be assigned.

After receiving that information, the student decided not to pursue an investigation.

“I decided not to go through the hearing, and I also just didn’t want to deal with it. It’s, like, a 60-day process, and I don’t want to have to have that hanging over my head for the next 60 days … constantly having to bring it up and go through my story and have people question me,” she said.

The female student said she met with Love one final time, in person, on Oct. 3. She said Love wanted to make sure that her decision not to go through the conduct hearing process was not influenced by an outside source.

Love sent a final follow-up email to the female student on Oct. 5 to inform her that her case was closed, according to the student. In his email, he apologized for letting her down, the student said, and Love acknowledged that Campus Safety and the Office of the Dean of Students took joint responsibility for misfiling her initial report.

“I recognize that the delays in service and mixed messages only added to your discomfort and anxiety in an already unimaginably difficult time,” Love stated in an email to the student, which she showed to The PHOENIX.

Although the student said she appreciated Love taking responsibility for the university’s mistake, she said she was upset by other parts the email, which she said sounded defensive.

“It was in the middle of the day, and after I read the email, I was crying but had to go to class, and on my way to class I saw [the male student accused of committing the assault] and made direct eye contact,” she said. “Now, I have to have someone walk me to my class every day so that I don’t have to see him.”

School officials declined to comment on the case in any detail, citing privacy concerns, even though The PHOENIX received permission from the student to discuss her case with the university.

The female student did not want to identify the male student accused of assaulting her, so The PHOENIX was unable to contact him. At this time, he has not been charged with any crime and the female student said she does not plan to pursue criminal charges.

“I came forward to inform people about what to do after a sexual assault because a lot of the things that I learned, I only learned [them] because I went through the experience,” she said. “I wanted to shed light on the problems with the system, and the point is not to put blame on the university — [it’s] just to show that there needs to be changes.”

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News Editor

Trisha McCauley is the news editor of the The PHOENIX and this is her second year on staff. She is a senior at Loyola majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports management. She was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, but has enjoyed exploring the city of Chicago.