Woman says she was sexually assaulted near UC - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Woman says she was sexually assaulted near UC

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A young woman said she was attacked near UC's campus Friday late into Saturday, yet can't remember anything beyond a night of partying.

UC Police are investigating and say they have a person of interest. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, like how the victim ended-up in a campus stairwell, did the assault happen on-campus, and did she know her attacker?

"The thing is, until we talk to her and we talk to her friends and we talk to this guy we don't know anything... we don't know," said UC Campus Police Chief Gene Ferrara.

The night began Friday in bars in the "Short Vine" area east of campus.

"She was in one of the bars there," Chief Ferrara said. "She went to an art show, she went to a play, so she was all up around this neighborhood but she was with a group of friends at each of these points."

That's the last thing the 20-year-old victim remembers.

Chief Ferrara said the woman had been drinking and her friends told her the next day a young man offered to walk her home. Chief Ferrara said that man is a person of interest, but not yet a suspect.

"We don't know that he was anything other than a good Samaritan that he offered to be," Chief Ferrara said. "We just don't know. he is apparently the last person to see her before she made a report."

The report states she'd been raped.

"She remembers being at the bar, she remembers waking up there," said Ferrara.

She woke-up early Saturday morning, at the base of the steps leading to a parking garage, next to the Richard Lindner Center.

"She didn't see her purse," Chief Ferrara said. "So she looked around, her purse was at the bottom of the steps with her shoes, nothing taken."

Police do not know if the assault happened on-campus.

"I don't know that anything happened there," Chief Ferrara said. "If something happened, it could have happened somewhere else and then she wandered there we don't know."

"We're going in the communications center," the Chief said as he led our camera inside a room filled with giant TV screens and monitors, all keeping a close eye on campus activity.

"And the mouse controls it," said Nicole Smith, an Emergency Communications Dispatcher. "We have the main monitor here and then we have three separate monitors."

There are 25 cameras covering the open, public areas and only underground garages, have cameras in their stairwells, otherwise it'd be too difficult to see throughout garages, which contain up to a thousand cars.

"With ramps that have cars parked on them you can look down the drive lane," Chief Ferrara said. "But you can't see between the cars and that's where things happen."

Students can take heart that there are more than 200 police help phones across campus and an instant connection to the city services.

"That's our dispatcher talking there," Chief Ferrara said pointing to his radio. "But by switching this channel we can be on the radio with Cincinnati police even Cincinnati fire when they come on campus we can switch over and talk directly to them."

The Chief said there was such a big stretch of time, between when the victim left the bar and when she actually got to a hospital the next day, it would almost be impossible to detect if a date-rate drug was used.

They hope to learn more once they re-interview the victim and that person of interest. 

UC Police are conducting an investigation. Anyone with information should call UC Police at 513-556-4900 or Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040.

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