OSU admits defunct sexual assault center failed to report 57 felonies

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio State University says the now-disbanded Sexual Civility Empowerment (SCE) center failed to report 57 felonies.

The university dissolved the unit in June 2018, and fired four employees after they failed to document and report at least 20 sexual assault complaints by students.

The university hired a national outside auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive review. Of those 57 cases that were not reported, it was found that 20 cases have been reported to OSU police, 30 to Columbus police, and seven to other outside law enforcement agencies.

Over the past 12 months since Ohio State President Michael Drake announced the end of SCE, the university has required help from Philadelphia law firm Cozen O’Conner and other outside council, paying them more than $1.1 million in legal fees to help recreate and redesign the Title IX program and review the SCE cases.

SCE was suspended in February 2018, amid concerns that it was not probably supporting victims and was being mismanaged by failing to properly document and report information in regards to sexual assault complaints.

All 57 cases have since been reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

The 20 cases reported to OSUPD mostly occurred between 2016 and 2017, according to campus police reports.

In a statement emailed from Ohio State spokesmen Chris Davey, in response to the audit finding:

“This failure is unacceptable, which is one of the reasons the university shut down the office and engaged nationally recognized experts to create a redesigned, best-in-class model to support victims of sexual assault.”

Since SCE’a closing, the university has formed an Office of Institutional Equity to oversee the university’s response to sexual and gender-based harassment, violence and other forms of discrimination.

Heading this new office is Kathy Lasher, who oversaw a similar office at Central Michigan University

In addition to the creation of OIE, the university has brought in two advocates from the Sexual Assault Response Networks of Central Ohio, to help students and faculty following any kind of trauma.

The university has also hired a case manager from the Wexner Medical Center’s STAR Trauma Recovery Center and made a therapist available for several hours a week.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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