University of St. Thomas defends decision not to notify entire campus about alleged sex assault by former officer

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University of St. Thomas has fired one of its police officers amid allegations of sexual misconduct. (KTRK)

The University of St. Thomas is defending its decision not to issue a campus wide alert after firing a UST Police officer for alleged misconduct.

On Friday, Eyewitness News reported that the UST terminated a police officer for possible sexual assault of a young woman after conducting a traffic stop.
At the time, the university issued a statement, including an account of the incident:
"The conduct in question relates to a female. The male officer drove the female to her home following a police stop. The alleged conduct occurred several miles from the university campus and outside the university's patrol district. During the UST Police Department's investigation, the female claimed that nonconsensual sexually-related acts occurred with the officer. The university has reached out to her to express its concern. We honor her dignity as a human person and, if she were harmed in any way, we hope for a speedy recovery. No one should be subject to unwanted advances."

The university referred the sexual assault investigation to the Houston Police Department, but did not issue a campus wide security alert on the incident.

When we questioned UST officials on why there was no security alert issued, the university responded with a terse statement saying basically the location of the alleged assault means it was not subject to the Clery Act, which requires universities that participate in federal student aide to report crime incidents that happen on or near the campus.

UST officials released the following statement this afternoon:
"We stand by our previous statement. We will not be releasing a name. This matter is still under investigation by another police agency, and I would refer you to the Houston Police Department for any additional information. While the alleged incident is a Clery crime, the incident didn't happen on our campus or in our Clery geography and the alleged victim is not a student or employee. Therefore, our university would not report it as a Clery incident. Because the employee was quickly terminated, there was no need to issue a warning to campus. Again, safety of our students and employees remains the utmost priority to University of St. Thomas."
Sandra Soliz
UST Communications

In 2017, the federal government released a harsh assessment on UST's lack of compliance with the Clery Act. You can read it here (PDF).

In fact, federal authorities fined the University of St. Thomas $172,000 for not complying with elements of the Clery Act. Documents justifying the large fine are here (PDF).

The Houston Police Department says it is still investigating the incident. So far, no charges have been filed.

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Related Topics:
sexual misconductpolice officeruniversity of st thomastexas newssex assaultHouston
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