UI police's vague notice about alleged fondling has questions swirling

UI police's vague notice about alleged fondling has questions swirling

URBANA — A campus safety notice distributed to University of Illinois students and parents this week raised questions after it warned of a sexually related crime and other acts by an unnamed University of Illinois student but provided few details about the incidents.

The UI police alert said a student had been "touched inappropriately" on Sept. 20 at an unidentified UI residence hall, and the alleged offender, another UI student, had been accused of two other instances of "inappropriate behavior and lewd comments directed toward other people."

The release did not name the student but said he had also been jailed in Will County for a different incident and was later released, and was expected to return to campus.

"We are unable to name the alleged offender at this time because he has not been charged with a crime related to the offenses detailed in this notice," the release said.

According to a source and Will County court records, UI student William Sitton, 24, of suburban Chicago is facing prosecution for aggravated battery in a public place stemming from a May 28 incident in Will County. No details of that incident were available.

He was arrested on a warrant Oct. 31 and is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 30 for a probable-cause hearing to determine if there's enough evidence to proceed with the case, records show.

UI Police spokesman Patrick Wade said the department is required under the federal Clery Act to disclose information about specific crimes on or near campus, including sexual abuse.

"We are sending this message to heighten your awareness, to enable you to take actions which can help increase your safety, and to aid in the prevention of similar crimes," the notice said.

However, it also said police generally don't include specific details about exact locations or times to avoid releasing information that could identify a survivor and cause further harm.

Wade told The News-Gazette that the Sept. 20 fondling incident took place at a co-ed residence hall and was reported to police Wednesday by a campus security authority — staff members designated under federal law with the responsibility of reporting sexual assaults if they become aware of them.

The perpetrator does not live in the residence hall but in a private apartment, Wade said.

"It was intentional. It was serious, touching someone else against that person's will," he said.

The two previous reports of inappropriate or lewd behavior involved sexually explicit comments made to other students but no physical contact, Wade said.

"He would continue to make those comments after they told him to stop," Wade said.

Those incidents took place in other areas — one in a classroom, during a class, and the other one outside, Wade said. They were reported by the victims, who wanted to file a police report, he said.

They don't meet the definition of sexual abuse or fall under the Clery Act, Wade said, but police felt it was important to include them "since this person will be on campus."

Campus safety notices are issued for "anything we think may pose some kind of potential, ongoing threat to the campus," Wade said.

Wade said he understands that the notice may have been confusing, and said he'd received at least eight emails from parents and others about it.

He emphasized that the lack of detail "doesn't necessarily mean we aren't doing things behind the scenes to deal with this," adding that police may investigate further and the student could face disciplinary action.

The notice said the UI is providing resources to the students involved in the incidents and "taking steps to prevent similar incidents involving the same offender. Although criminal charges have not been filed, student disciplinary proceedings may take place."

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Pointblank wrote on November 11, 2017 at 7:11 am
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"Although criminal charges have not been filed, student disciplinary proceedings may take place." = white privilege.

headshaking wrote on November 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

The fact that you "assume" this male is black is a totally racist assumption.  He is/was white.  Look him up on Will County's docket.

headshaking wrote on November 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

The fact that you "assume" this male is black is a totally racist assumption.  He is/was white.  Look him up on Will County's docket.

rsp wrote on November 11, 2017 at 9:11 am

When there is a delay in reporting it makes it harder to convict someone. That doesn't mean they shouldn't report. It can help with other cases. It also doesn't mean "white privilige" if they also use the UI disiplinary system. They can restrict his movements and if he doesn't comply he can end up being removed from campus.

I wonder if he has ever been referred to the mental health services on campus. Students go to college and for the first time live away from their parents. This can be stressful and it's a time when certain mental illnesses might emerge. Early treatment can encourage a good outcome.

Pointblank wrote on November 11, 2017 at 11:11 am
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That it's considered a mental illness is another sign of white privilege. There is no doubt had it been someone black caught fondling someone on campus, that person would be in jail on a high bond.

Stop Baiting wrote on November 11, 2017 at 10:11 pm

YOU are the reason racism is alive. 

rsp wrote on November 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

Maybe you should rethink that avatar.

Pointblank wrote on November 12, 2017 at 5:11 am
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It's the double standards of the criminal justice system: its harshness towards blacks, and its leniency towards whites, that keeps racism alive. 

rsp wrote on November 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

It have more to do with money and access.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on November 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Your blatent racism is refreshing.  Show me one sentence word or punctuation that showed either the race or gender of the "suspect" in this article.

 

Or you just

 

guessing

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