Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

UVA Violated The Jeanne Clery Act AND Failed To Report Another Sex Crime

October 6, 2010 1 comment

UVA Violated The Jeanne Clery Act AND Failed To Report Another Sex Crime

Charlottesville, VA– Late Tuesday evening, prompted by questions by the Editor In Chief of about a recent rape which occurred at the DZ sorority on Chancellor Street, The University of Virginia sent out an alert to students.

However, as required of UVA by the Clery Act, the alert was 10 days late. Charlottesville Police recorded a police report of a forcible rape on September 17, 2010.

The Jeanne Clery Act, founded by her parents, Howard and Connie Clery, is a Federal Law applicable to all Higher Learning Institutions that participate in Federal funding assistance which requires mandatory reporting for specified crimes.

Constance and Howard Clery founders of Security ON Campus, Inc. after their 19 year old daughter Jeanne was brutally raped, tortured and murdered while sleeping in her dorm on April 5, 1986.

Fellow Lehigh University co-eds propped 3 different doors open, in violation of security rules, unknowingly allowing her killer access.

The bill which became a Federal law, was based on the fact that 38 different violent offenses occurred at Lehigh U that the student body was never made aware of prior to Clery’s murder. Had they been, it is almost certain not only would the automatic locking doors have been inaccessible, but parents and students combined would have demanded security upgrades to prevent such a heinous event.

Following the email that went to 23,000 students at 11:01 PM September 28, Allen Groves, Dean of Students, and Lt. Melissa Fielding of the University Police Department, held an impromptu press conference Wednesday, as a follow up to the email alert with some additional background information.



Time line Breakdown

9–17 1:15am UVA student attacked from behind, raped and beaten on Delta Zeta House, Chancellor Street.

9-17 Noon- Email Equivalent to “Whisper Down the Rotunda” Begins:

Received a third party email, NOT from the victim, indicating a stranger attack had occurred to a sister, as previously reported at, at DZ House on Chancellor St.  We forwarded that on to our endless list of associate deans. They called the Sorority president for more  information so that we might begin “acting upon it”.

9–18 Additional Sexual Assault Occurs At Fraternity on Madison Lane 3AM

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9–18 A Robbery Occurs During the Course of Above, Same Frat 3AM

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9–19 A Breaking And Entering Occurs, Undisclosed Sorority House, Chancellor St

*Unreported To Students To Date*

9-20 Associate Dean reaches out directly to the victim to ..”get the details of the attack and also to assist the student. No contact made with victim.

9–20 Associate Deans Office receives call from a female student’s Mother that her daughter was nearly sexually assaulted in a pantry at a Fraternity party at approximately midnight, September 18. Add additionally, Groves speaks to a man claiming to be assaulted due to his sexual preference, which would be considered a hate crime, also reportable under the Clery Act. According to Groves and Fielding no police report has been filed. (Editors Note: If this took place at the same “undisclosed frat” as the 3am forcible fondling and robbery incidents– Is this the same perp? So he never fled the scene? So, we have 2 incidents that have Charlottesville PD police reports, one of a sex crime in nature, and an additional attempted sex crime reported directly to administration on 9/20 within a three hour span, at either the same fraternity, or a neighboring one, and it takes 8 days to notify anyone, and they still have not interviewed anyone at the “undisclosed” frat regarding the incidents?

9-21 Internal Meeting about the 9/17 forcible rape but to UVA, they are  “unclear” sex assault occurs, still no contact with, or direct information with the victim. ( Editors Note: Groves says Charlottesville PD has still not classified the incident as a sex assault. (Editors Note: This is ludicrous and utter bs. The report specifically states “forcible rape”.  I can tell you as an absolute fact, that members of the sorority AS WELL AS the other sororities on Chancellor sent emails back and forth to alert each other which specifically included details of the assault).

9-21 Associate Dean contacts Cville PD. Was told .. Yes, investigating the incident, but would not be in a position to disclose whether there had been an assault or sexual assault  also, at that point. We then conferred with the university police to see if there was anything they could tell us so that we could determine whether or not a sex assault occurred in that setting.

9-23 Sorority Meeting held, without the victim, to discuss outreach opportunities.

9-27 First time Associate dean heard directly from the victim in response to the outreach efforts, first time she was in a position to come forward (out of hospital). Victim had to cancel and has rescheduled.

9-28 “.. Certainly by last evening… after conferring with Lt. Fielding and others I felt we had enough information.. Even though to my knowledge Charlottesville Police have not classified this as a sexual assault..”  but we believe we had enough, even though it was not our investigation, it was Charlottesville Police responsibility to alert..” (Editors Note: Not a syllable about the email I sent to Ms. Wood, who was unaware of the incident, and very responsive to me. The alert went out at 11:01 PM, 45 minutes after our article regarding same, was published. In this editors opinion, there were no plans whatsoever to alert students until I requested a comment, specifying it was to be included in the piece we were finishing regarding the fact that the rape had not yet been disclosed as an alert, as required by the Clery Act.  This was done to balance what was certain to be seen as a scandalous announcement in the wake of Morgan Harrington and Yeardley Love murders, and days after the University’s “Day of Dialogue.”  I felt they should certainly be offered an opportunity to address the issue from their perspective, the email was their response to that invitation).

Clearly A Clery Violation… Again

The Articles for reporting within the Clery Act are unambiguous. While I understand the need to alert students and parents with credible and useful information, this is not for UVA officials to decide unilaterally. In fact, it is not for them to ever need to “corroborate” or interview a victim regarding the details of any crime committed against them as identified in the Clery Act for UVA to observe the requirements of them under the Federal law.

In short, they have their own police. They have their “online form”. They have Charlottesville PD police report direct feed.

In 2004, The Board of Education found that UVA violated the Clery Act by requiring a rape victim to sign a confidentiality agreement, but gave them a pass by not imposing sanctions because there was some confusion as to the reporting rules and protocol. UVA was informed they will be assessed a $27,500 sanction fee for any future violations.

As I am certain many of you are over my bloviations about the subject, and in the interest of disclosure, I have personal ties to Lehigh University.

Also in the interest of disclosure, I am embarrassed to say that I was not aware that Ms. Clery’s murder occurred there until researching the Clery Act.

Some Posts from members of your local community for consumption, I will be updating poignant comments. Poster Starbucks:

Regarding the “off grounds” issue, I’m sorry but I find University’s excuses in this area ludicrous and totally disingenuous.

The Clery Act, passed in 1990, unambiguously provides that its reporting requirements are not limited to crimes occurring on campus/”Grounds.” The University has had twenty years to figure out how to comply with this law, and yet its officials act as dumbfounded as ever. One would think that UVA is the only school in the nation with a significant portion of its student body living off campus/Grounds, but in close proximity to the University. Of course, this situation is commonplace.

If UVA is having such a difficult time dealing with the “off grounds” issue, I suggest that President Sullivan get in contact with the appropriate officials at her previous institutions. Sullivan spent most of her career at the University of Texas where 80% of its undergraduate student body lives off campus, as opposed to 57% at UVA. She then spent about four years at the University of Michigan where 37% of its undergraduates live off campus. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here; if UVA officials can’t figure out how to report crimes occurring near its campus, they should go study how other universities are dealing with this perplexing problem.

The implication that there is no communication between the Charlottesville Police and the UVA police/campus officials simply stretches the bounds of credulity.

UVA is required by the Clery Act to provide:

(C) A statement of current policies concerning campus law enforcement, including—

(ii) the working relationship of campus security personnel with State and local law enforcement agencies, including whether the institution has agreements with such agencies, such as written memoranda of understanding, for the investigation of alleged criminal offenses; and

(iii) policies which encourage accurate and prompt reporting of all crimes to the campus police and the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

I can’t seem to find UVA’s policies in this area. I challenge the University to prominently publish all of the required Clery Act policy statements on its website.

UVA is on notice:

“This determination finds that the University violated the Clery Act. However, as was noted in our July 2004 Final Determination in another case, there was apparent confusion in the higher education community regarding the intersection of the disclosure requirement under the Clery Act and the strictures of FERPA. For this reason, the Department will not impose any fines or other sanctions at this time. However, UVA is advised that any subsequent violations of the Clery Act will result in a referral for the imposition of a civil penalty up to $27,500 per infraction.”

So please UVA, stop the excuses and clean up your act now.

Respectfully submitted via BlinkOnCrime

Madeline Tanner, Elizabeth Morton, contributing editors

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence, Part 3…

July 1, 2010 1 comment

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence, Part 3…

Last year, Maryland passed a bill to encourage — rather than require — school districts to teach the topic. It was less than what Bill and Michele Mitchell, who lost their 21-year-old daughter, Kristin, to dating violence, wanted. But it was a start, and the couple from Ellicott City will continue to push, they say.

Bill Mitchell says he hopes that more young people will begin to see warning signs where his family did not.

Just hours before she was killed in 2005, Kristin had texted her boyfriend: “You are being ridiculous. Why cant i do something with my friends.”

He later found and heard about other texts, including one that asked why she had gone to her class rather than spend time with her boyfriend. Kristin was in her senior year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and graduated three weeks before her death.

Says Mitchell: “Text messaging, in the wrong hands, has to be about the worst thing that’s come along when we’re talking about dating violence and controlling personalities.”

Being tracked

In a recent survey, nearly one in four of those ages 14 to 24 reported that partners check in multiple times a day to see where they are or who they are with, and more than one in 10 said partners demanded passwords, according to a survey by the Associated Press and MTV.

One challenge is that many teens do not view excessive texting as a problem and may not recognize abusive behaviors. “If you’re getting 50 messages an hour and you want 50 messages an hour, that’s not a problem,” says Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle, which works to end dating violence. “But if you’re getting 50 messages an hour and you don’t even want one, that’s very different.”

These sorts of topics are addressed through a teen help line called Love Is Respect and several national awareness campaigns, including MTV’s effort on digital abuse, A Thin Line, a joint effort on digital dating abuse called That’s Not Cool and the initiative Love Is Not Abuse.

In California, Jill Murray says her cases have included a 16-year-old whose ex-boyfriend paid four friends to help him text when he was asleep or at work. “It was like psychological torture.”

Murray urges parents to pay more attention to their children’s texting lives, checking to see how many messages they get, at what hour and from whom. “Parents don’t know this is going on whatsoever,” she says.

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 2

June 30, 2010 Comments off

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 2

As a parent, Lynne Russell thinks the privacy of text messaging helped obscure the danger that her daughter, Siobhan “Shev” Russell, 19, faced. The teenager from Oak Hill, Va., was killed by her boyfriend in April 2009, 10 weeks after delivering a graduation speech at Mountain View Alternative High School.

Later, Lynne Russell and her husband found scores of texts, some disturbing, that Siobhan’s boyfriend, now 18, had sent. “I don’t think she recognized the warning signs, and we didn’t see the signs until it was too late,” says Russell, who plans to start a dating-violence awareness campaign in the fall.

A federal survey released this month showed one of 10 high school students nationally reported being hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend during the previous year. In Maryland, which did a similar survey, one in six said they were hurt.

Although such surveys do not show a rise in violence, the texting culture has changed the experience.

In Rockville, a woman in her 20s was so closely tracked that her partner insisted that she text him photos to prove her whereabouts — each with a clock displaying the time, says Hannah Sassoon, coordinator of Montgomery County’s domestic violence response team.

Katalina Posada, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, says one of her friends is frequently texted by a jealous boyfriend. “It’s like the 20 questions a parent would ask,” she says, adding that she finally told her friend: “This isn’t right.”

Textual harassment is getting more attention as concerns about dating violence mount. In the past several years, about a dozen states have passed or are considering laws to bring dating violence education into schools.

The legislative push comes partly from parents such as Gary Cuccia, a Pennsylvania father whose daughter, Demi Brae, was killed a day after her 16th birthday in 2007. Cuccia says his daughter had broken up with her teenage boyfriend, whom the family thought of as likable, if a little jealous.

In the days before Demi’s death, Cuccia would later learn, her ex-boyfriend texted her again and again: “You know you can’t live without me,” he wrote. “U need to see me.” And: “I’m ballin my eyes.”

When Demi finally agreed to see the boy, he came over when she was alone and stabbed her 16 times in her living room.

Her father says he thinks that the largely private nature of texting is an important aspect of the problem.

“When I was growing up, we had one phone in the whole house, and if you were fighting with your girlfriend, everybody knew about it,” Cuccia says.

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 1

June 29, 2010 Comments off

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence...Part 1

The text messages to the 22-year-old Virginia woman arrived during the day and night, sometimes 20 or 30 at once. Her ex-boyfriend wanted her back. He would not be refused. He texted and called 758 times.

In New York, a 17-year-old trying to break up with her boyfriend got fewer messages, but they were menacing. “You don’t need nobody else but me,” read one. Another threatened to kill her.

It is all part of what is increasingly called “textual harassment,” a growing aspect of dating violence at a time when cellphones and unlimited texting plans are ubiquitous among the young. It can be insidious, because messages pop up at the sender’s will: Where r u? Who r u with? Why didnt u answer me?

“It’s gotten astonishingly worse in the last two years,” says Jill Murray, who has written several books on dating violence and speaks on the topic nationally. Especially for those who have grown up in digital times, “it’s part and parcel of every abusive dating relationship now.”

The harassed often feel compelled to answer the messages, whether they are one-word insults or 3 a.m. demands. Texts arrive in class, at the dinner table, in movie theaters — 100 or more a day, for some.

Harassment is “just easier now, and it’s even more persistent and constant, with no letting up,” says Claire Kaplan, director of sexual and domestic violence services at the University of Virginia, which became the focus of national attention in May with the killing of 22-year-old lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

Police have charged Love’s ex-boyfriend, George Huguely V, also 22, with first-degree murder and allege that he removed her computer from the crime scene as he fled. Police were investigating whether Huguely sent Love threatening e-mails or text messages.

Kacey Kirkland, a victim services specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department, has seen textual harassment in almost every form: Threats. Rumors. Lies. Late-night questions.

“The advances in technology are assisting the perpetrators in harassing and stalking and threatening their victims,” Kirkland says.

In the case involving the 22-year-old who received 758 messages from her ex-boyfriend — all unanswered — the harassment led to stalking charges and a protective order, Kirkland says.

Harassment by text is only one facet of abusive relationships, which often involve contact in person, by phone, by e-mail, and through Facebook or other social networking sites.

Warning signs hidden

“What technology offers is irrefutable evidence of the abuse,” says Cindy Southworth, founder of the Safety Net Project on technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, who says it helps in court and is hoping for an increase in conviction rates.

Washington Post’s “Heartbreaking Headline” is Disturbing by Susan Murphy-Milano…

May 10, 2010 1 comment

Washington Post’s “Heartbreaking Headline” is Disturbing

Repost from Susan Murphy-Milano Journal

The headline in the Washington Post, ” HEARTHBREAKING FINISH FOR U-VA ROMANCE,” continue, in my opinion, an ignorant yet sweeping trend in reporting these tragic crimes. Instead of sugar coating a headline that brings readers to the Internet or sell newspapers why not call it out for what this horriffic tragedy is, “Intimate Violence Murder Takes The Life of College Student,” or do a follow-up as True Crime Writer Kathryn Casey wrote titled “Okay Girls-Time-To-Listen Up.”

I realize that does not send loyal readers running to the headline in fact it is likely tomake intelligent subscribers ignore the story and head over to the lesuire section of the newspaper. And it also does not do much for parents sending their children off to college at a large university. Anyway you look at it it is about the all mighty dollar.

Lets face it Domestic ,Violence and Stalking related deaths do not sell newspapers. The subject matter is not attractive and it only perpetuates the myth that intitmateviolence is between two people and they should somehow work it work between themselves. I have a news flash for you; it obviously did not work for Yeardly Love, who, in my expert opinion, did not have to die. Nor does the fact that colleges polices and the hour of student orientation they receive upon entering college on sexual assualt and campus crimes do little more than protect a university from lawsuits because they have passed out to the new students written mumbo jumbo from information copied off aDepartment of Justice website or newsletter and called it “information you can use to be safe.” Obviously, it did not work for Yeardly Love or those we do not even hear about who are silenced on college campuses across the county.

It is a silent yet known fact that University police are not trained adequetly in sexual assualt and domestic violence crimes. And, yes, folks, they are crimes!

An example of another tragic case is a book written way back in 1995 by Washington Post pultizer prize winning journalist George Lardner titledm “The Stalking of Kristin,” about a promising young art student who was killed by a jealous ex-boyfriend while attending college. Kristin Lardner did everything right. She was educated and sophisticated, and had the time and resources to make the law work for her. And she was a member of the class of people who believe the law when it promises to protect them. With a parent’s rage, and an impressive command of the facts and statistics, George Lardner refutes the widespread belief that the courts offer effective protection to battered women who do report their abusers and press charges. The book includes photos of Kristin’s artwork about abuse of women and 80 pages of footnotes and bibliography about the legal system. Unfortunately, this book needs to be part of every college campus and law school is no longer in print. I thought about George Lardner, whom I met while on book tour of my first published work, “Defending Our Lives, Getting Away from Domestic Violence and Staying Safe.” [published by Doubleday Books]

I am sure, if asked of the father of Kristin , George Lardner, “what has changed in the legal system since the murder of his daughter 18 years ago?”: his response would likely be “nothing has changed.”

Maybe the Washington Post will do a story or review on the book “Time’s Up A Guide on How to LLeave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships.” It may not grab new subscribers to the Washington Post, but it will save lives!