The Ithaca College Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management is investigating a rape in the third degree that reportedly occurred between 1:15 a.m. and 4 a.m. Jan. 22 near the wooded area South of Boothroyd Hall.
Although the incident was said to have occurred Jan. 22, it was not reported until Feb. 10, which is why an alert was not issued via email to the campus community until Feb. 13, said Tom Dunn, lieutenant in the Office of Public Safety. Tiffani Ziemann, Title IX coordinator for the college, said Public Safety alerts are issued after incidents where an attacker cannot be identified.
“So [the alerts are] pushed out to the community to try to gain some information and to give the campus a warning,” Ziemann said.
Dunn said the investigation is still active as of Feb. 16 and that the victim did not know the attacker. The victim did not give an age range for the suspect, Dunn said, and it is unknown if the suspect is a student or not.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Dunn said “Most sexual assaults occur between acquaintances. When a sexual assault occurs and does not involve an acquaintance — a stranger — it is a little more alarming, a little more cause for concern.”
Ziemann said the terminology surrounding sexual assault and rape can be confusing — the alert had “sexual assault” in the subject line but referenced the incident as a “rape.”
“Sexual assault is kind of a blanket term for unwanted sexual contact,” Ziemann said. “The legal definition of rape has three different categories. … Rape has to have some form of penetration.”
Dunn said he would encourage people to be vigilant and take normal precautions, adding that some details of the case could not be disclosed because they could compromise the investigation.
“We would encourage people to do the normal precautionary steps we always encourage anyone to take 365 days a year, which would include staying in well-lit areas or not necessarily walking alone,” Dunn said.
“We have stepped up patrols in this area,” Dunn said. “We are looking for anyone with information to call us about the incident because we want to identify the person responsible.”
Anyone can provide information to the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management by calling 607-274-3333 or by leaving an anonymous voicemail at 607-274-1060.