No Charges Filed In Ohio University’s Public Sexual Assault Case

A grand jury quietly determined the high-profile homecoming incident was not rape.

In the early hours of Oct. 12, a 20-year-old man pinned a woman against the window of a Chase Bank near Ohio University in Athens, while at least two other men took photos and video on their phones.

The next day, the woman, also 20, filed a sexual assault complaint with the Athens Police Department, after seeing images of herself circulating on Instagram and Twitter. She said she had no memory of the incident.

On Monday, more than two weeks after the woman’s initial complaint, an Athens County grand jury decided not to pursue charges in the case that made international headlines after BuzzFeed reported on the alleged assault.

In a detailed statement, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the grand jury determined no probable cause for charges against the man.

According to Blackburn, the police investigation found that the two OU students had been drinking together before the incident. They “left after closing and began kissing at several locations,” including on the hood of a nearby car.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. they stopped in front of Chase Bank where the male performed sex acts on the female. The female was responsive, smiling and grabbed the back of the males head. At one point the male asked the female if he should stop because they were building a crowd. The female answered no. This was confirmed by an independent witness that was on the scene.

They went back to the male student’s apartment and stayed there until 6:30 a.m.

The couple were then at the BP gas station on Court Street for about seven (7) minutes. The female was responsive, visualized and screamed out her roommate’s name and left with the male, who walked her home. The male provided the female with his cellphone number via a text message.

“A reasonable person would think that she was not intoxicated beyond the ability to consent,” Blackburn said of the alleged victim.

Police also found the students didn’t know they were being filmed outside the bank, despite the man appearing to talk to the camera in one of the clips posted online.

According to the Associated Press, OU President Roderick McDavis said the school will conduct its own investigation. Last week, 4chan users misidentified an OU sophomore as the female student involved in the incident. She later filed her own complaint with the Athens Police Department, citing “telecommunications harassment.”

“Every decision we make now has the potential to be placed on Twitter, Facebook, commented on, shared and embellished, making life today more public than ever before,” Blackburn said, attempting to turn the grand jury’s decision into a lesson: “[We] should behave as if our family is always watching.”

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