Thursday, September 30, 2004

Miami U. rape suspect 'is no longer a student'

Man involved in second sex-related case since November

By Kristen Muthig
Enquirer staff writer
and David Eck
Enquirer contributor

Jason D. Landis, 25, of Troy, Ohio, is in the Butler County Jail. He is charged with raping a Miami student.
Photo provided
OXFORD - A man accused of raping a Miami University student "is no longer a student," university officials said Wednesday.

Miami spokesman Richard Little said Jason D. Landis, 25, could be subject to expulsion after a future disciplinary hearing. Landis, who had been studying sports organization, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he raped a 22-year-old student at his apartment in the 200 block of East Chestnut Street earlier that morning.

"At this point today, he is no longer a student at Miami," Little said after university officials met to discuss the case.

Landis, of Troy, Ohio, remains in the Butler County Jail. Butler Area II Court Judge J.B. Connaughton didn't set bond in a video hearing Wednesday, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 7.

The female student, according to police, drove home after the rape, then drove herself to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital for treatment for excessive bleeding.

She underwent surgery and is recovering.

"The reaction around here has been a combination of shock, sadness and compassion for the victim," said Jane Goettsch, director of Miami's Women's Center. "There is always anger that sexual violence continues to take place."

University officials Wednesday discussed increased public information education efforts, including publishing a letter in the campus newspaper, and encouraging participation in efforts such as an initiative to prevent sexual assault and in the previously scheduled Take Back the Night March in November.

"Often when incidents make news, there is an initial heightened alertness, but that fades in time," Goettsch said.

"There is an opportunity with this to get some information out to people."

Some female students said they would be more cautious.

"I just think that we can only hope that the person attacked will recover emotionally and physically," said Marissa Hirsh, a first-year student from Wyoming. "It's scary. The minute you think it won't happen to you, it might."

"It's kinda like a slap in the face and makes me want to be more safe," said Abby Riley, a sophomore from McConnelsville, Ohio.

Some students felt there needed to be more communication and were surprised to hear that the suspect had pleaded guilty last year in a sexual attack on another student.

In November 2003, Landis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of sexual imposition and aggravated trespass, records show. In that case, he entered a female's dorm room in Scott Hall, Little said. Landis had been suspended through this summer's semester, and was barred from living on campus or from having any contact with the victim, Little said.

"Just hearing about it makes me wonder about policy and what exactly the rule is about letting students back on campus," said Ella Manken, a first-year student from Van Wert, Ohio. "The university can't be responsible for every person out there, but they are responsible for dealing with the actions after they happen."

"I think it's ridiculous, the lines of communication between the university and students," said Christina Synowiec, a junior from Louisville. "It's really upsetting."

Little said it is difficult to make a policy that covers all situations.

"You have to judge each case individually and see how it impacts the individual and the campus, and you have to do that without the fortune of hindsight," he said.

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