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SSU police launch investigation of reported rape on Rohnert Park campus

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Sonoma State University police have launched an investigation into a reported rape Oct. 4 in an area of student housing on the east side of the Rohnert Park campus, according to the school’s crime log.

This is at least the sixth reported rape this year on the Sonoma State campus.

The reported sexual assault, which officials began investigating Monday, occurred at the school’s Beaujolais Village that includes apartments, laundry rooms, a community building and a pool and spa, the university’s website shows. The reported assault happened there about 12:30 a.m., the log said.

Campus police officers learned about the report Monday, according to the university’s police crime log. University spokesman Paul Gullixson did not return multiple requests for a phone interview Thursday, but said in an email that he could not provide any additional information about the rape report beyond what was posted on the university’s crime log.

The rape report did not prompt the university to issue a timely alert, a notification that warns staff and students of certain on-campus crimes, Gullixson said in the email. The federal Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act, which requires the university to publish such warnings, are for situations where there may be a general threat to students and employees, he added.

“Given the facts involved, campus officials did not believe that was the case in this situation,” Gullixson said in the email.

There were notifications for two other sexual assaults on the web page, however. One involved a report of a rape near a pair of lakes near the university’s art building sometime between 11 p.m. Sept. 5 and 3 a.m. Sept. 6, the alert said. Campus police were notified about the rape four days later and issued an alert about the incident within hours. School officials withheld additional information in that case, citing an ongoing investigation.

The second alert involved another rape reported to campus police less than a month before, during the evening Aug. 16, at an on-campus residence in the Cabernet Village. In that instance, police said the sexual assault involved a “female survivor” and a recent acquaintance she had met through social media. The suspect’s identity and description were not known to officers at the time they notified the campus, the timely warning said.

Campus police have investigated at least three other rapes at the university in the past year, past reporting and available online university crime logs show. One report came to police on July 23. The sexual assault was reported as occurring at the Beaujolais Village between Oct. 2018 to May 2019, the school’s website shows. It was unclear if the person making the report was reporting one or more sexual assaults.

An additional report involved a student who told police in April that she was raped on campus by a man she met on a dating website, the school said. In January, a woman said an acquaintance may have put a chemical in her drink and that the rape occurred in a school residence, university officials reported. The university declined to say whether the victim was a student in that case.

There were 13 rapes investigated by Sonoma State University Police in 2018, three more than the year prior and eight more than in 2017, the university’s 2019 Annual Security Report said. All but for one of the 2018 rape reports were said to have happened in on-campus residential areas, the report showed.

Like the timely warnings, colleges are required to issue yearly crime reports by Oct. 1 of each year to comply with the federal Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act.

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