Saturday, April 07, 2001

Miami students alerted

3 sexual assaults reported in a week

By Randy McNutt and Jaclyn Giovis
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — Miami University President James Garland warned students by e-mail on Friday to watch out for themselves and friends after three rapes were reported this week.

        “This rash of sexual assaults is disturbing and upsetting,” he wrote. “It is especially sobering to realize that, despite the recent increase in reported incidents at Miami, the large majority of offenses are never reported.”

        Adam N. Langenderfer, 20, a sophomore from Bowling Green, was charged with rape on Wednesday by Miami University police, said Claire Wagner, a Miami spokeswoman. He faces a preliminary hearing Thursday in Butler County Area 1 Court.

        The alleged rape occurred in a residence hall in January. Officials said he and his accuser were acquaintances.

        Since Jan. 1, nine women have reported sexual assaults on campus. Three reports were filed last weekend, including one for an incident last December. Oxford Police have had two similar reports during the school year. One reached the Butler County grand jury. It did not indict.

        “All or all except one are acquaintance rapes,” said Ms. Wagner. “Most women don't want to file charges. We've been putting out notices to students for a few weeks.

        “Some students are more concerned and more aware. Others say, "Oh, gee, it couldn't happen to me. I trust my friends.'”

        Students interviewed on campus Friday said they think the campus is relatively safe.

        “I wouldn't go home with a guy I didn't know,” said Laura Johnston, 21, a junior from Akron. “I think that's the biggest mistake some girls make ... trusting too many people.”

        Brent Soller, 20, a sophomore from Columbus, said Miami “is not a particularly dangerous place, but I think the college social scene lends itself to these types of situations, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved.”

        In his e-mail, Dr. Garland said, “Let me urge you to inform yourself about sexual assault and the societal conditions that make this crime so prevalent on our campuses ... You owe it to yourself to learn not only how to minimize the risk of sexual assaults, but also how to respond if you or someone you know becomes a victim.”

        He welcomed suggestions and comments on ways to increase the effectiveness of programs to combat sexual assaults.

        “Let us work together to confront this problem that so threatens and undermines our community,” he wrote.

        Oxford police say 10 to 12 rapes are reported to the two police departments in the average school year.

        A recent U.S. Justice Department study estimates that 350 sexual assaults occur each year on college campuses where 10,000 or more women are enrolled. There are about 8,800 women and 7,200 men at Miami.

        “One of these unfortunate victims may be your daughter, your sister, your friend. Or you,” Dr. Garland wrote.


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