Stanford investigating report of a rape in basement of a university building

Stanford University is investigating after a woman reported having been raped in the basement of a campus building Friday, the school announced Saturday, marking the second report of a rape on the elite Northern California campus in as many months.

The assault reportedly occurred around 12:30 pm Friday, according to the alert issued by the Stanford Public Safety Department, which says that “the victim indicated she was working in her office when a man came into her office, grabbed her, dragged her into a basement, and raped her.”

No further information was available about the perpetrator other than that he is described as an “adult male.”

The alert indicates that the woman had made a report not with police but instead with a “mandated reporter,” who then notified campus police.

The university defines mandatory reporters as certain employees or people affiliated with the university, including contractors and volunteers, who are legally obligated to report specific crimes.

In response to an inquiry about the victim’s and the perpetrator’s connections to the university, a spokesperson said the university had no further information to add to an update to the alert Saturday, which announced that the Public Safety Department is “actively investigating” and urging members of the university to share any information they have with the Public Safety Department “because of the limited information currently available.”

The update added that the little information in the alert was all that had been reported to the Public Safety Department, adding that “there are a variety of reasons why a victim may not disclose information about a crime,” including trauma that can affect memory.

Friday’s reported assault follows another rape alleged to have occurred in a campus bathroom in August, according to an alert from that time. That incident “remains under investigation,” the statement said.

The victims in both reported assaults chose not to share information about the crimes with police, the update said.

“We know this report was alarming and unsettling, especially coming after a report of a similar nature in August near Wilbur Hall,” said the statement, which was attributed to Public Safety Director Laura Wilson and Title IX Coordinator Stephen Chen.

The reported assault in August is also alleged to have occurred during daylight hours, at 5 pm, in the bathroom of a parking lot near a student dormitory, according to that alert.

That report included more information about the alleged perpetrator, describing him as being 6 feet tall with a thin build, brown eyes and a faded beard.

“The mandatory reporter stated the victim said she has seen the person on campus before,” the alert for the August assault said.

It did not clarify the victim’s or the alleged perpetrator’s connections to Stanford.

A spokesperson for the university did not respond to a question about whether the reported assaults Friday and in August might be connected.

In 2016, Stanford’s campus was rocked by the trial and subsequent lenient sentence in the case of swim team member Brock Turner.

Turner was convicted of three felonies after he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Prosecutors pushed for a six-year prison sentence, but the judge, Aaron Persky, followed the Santa Clara County Probation Department’s recommendation of just six months in jail. Persky was later recalled in the wake of public outrage over the sentence.

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