South Russell dorm

Three related incidents of rape were reported at South Russell Residence Hall on Dec. 2, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Baylor University’s Title IX office this week is investigating three related incidents of rape that reportedly occurred at a single residence hall since early December, Baylor officials said.

All three reports were made Monday for incidents that occurred at South Russell Residence Hall on Dec. 2, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20, according to the Baylor Campus Crime and Fire Log. The reports involved the same individuals and are believed to be connected, leading the Campus Security Authorities to refer the cases to the Title IX office, which investigates sexual violence and harassment.

Baylor spokeswoman Tonya Hudson said the three incidents are currently under the Title IX jurisdiction, and all information regarding the case is confidential. It was unknown if the three reported incidents are also under criminal investigation, she said.

The crime log states a Title IX office inquiry is when an incident was reported to the Title IX office, but has not been reported to the police department.

A letter from the university was sent to South Russell residents Thursday saying the rape allegations occurred among the same individuals. The letter states that the school “assessed the threat and addressed the situation according to our established policies and procedures.”

“We take these allegations very seriously, and our firm commitment to our students is to ensure the safety and security of our campus community,” the letter states.

A student can report a sexual assault of any kind to the Title IX office and forgo a criminal investigation, authorities said. It is up to the student whether to pursue criminal charges or seek administrative action enforced by the school pending the completion of a Title IX investigation.

Last year, Baylor listed 12 reports of rape on campus premises in 2017, according to Clery Act report released in 2018. According to the federally required report, the 2017 numbers represented a slight increase from 2016 reports of 11, but were fewer than the 23 incidents reported in 2015.

The Clery Act report for 2018 will be released in October.

From Oct. 8 to Nov. 15, eight cases, including five rape allegations were reported and referred to Title IX office last year. Other cases included fondling allegations on campus property, the crime log stated.

The five rape cases referred to the Title IX office include alleged incidents at Brook Residence Flats, on South Seventh Street; Park Place Apartments, 909 Baylor Ave.; Arbors Apartments, 300 Cottonwood St.; and at an unknown location. The crime logs states two rapes occurred at Park Place Apartments were reported between Nov. 5 and Nov. 13.

According to federal Clery Act requirements, institutions of higher education are required to maintain a daily crime log with information from numerous sources. Baylor collects information from anonymous report forms, student misconduct forms, Campus Security Authorities forms, Waco daily crime reports, or reports made directly to campus police or local law enforcement agency.

Hudson said the daily crime log consists of reported incidents that may not have been substantiated or investigated. The Clery Act reporting requirements do not make a distinction between whether the reported allegations are true or unfounded but requires that all reported crimes be recorded and included in the daily crime log.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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