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IU police chief urges students to report sexual abuse amid rise in cases

Police on the Bloomington campus are investigating more than two dozen sexual assault cases, but no criminal charges have been filed yet.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University police are investigating more than two dozen sexual assaults on campus this semester. 

In most of them, IUPD Chief Jill Lees said the people involved know each other. No charges have been filed in any of the cases. 

Journalism student Mary Claire Molloy has taken notice and reported on the rising number of rape reports. 

"Before our story even came out, students were concerned. The Panhellenic Association had canceled events with fraternities, which was an unprecedented move. Being a student here, I could see that there was a story bubbling up here," Molloy said.

Lees won't comment on any of the cases because they're under investigation. 

"We receive reports from previous months. We receive reports the very next day, that same night, it's a variety," she said.

The most recent case involved two visitors at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on Halloween.

Credit: WTHR
One of the sexual assault reports being investigated by police at IU came from visitors to the Phi Kappa Psi house.

Lees said the department looks at each case individually. 

"Our priority is to ensure the safety and protection of the survivor, because we want students to come forward to make those reports," she said. "But to us, looking into this situation, we felt that we could put that out there."

Of the sex crime cases filed with police, the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office told 13News the office has not filed any charges involving sexual assault or rape at IU since Aug. 1.

Police urge students to report sexual assault to the university's Title IX office and IUPD.

Lees also reminded students to use the IU safety app, which gives quick access to campus police, dispatches a safe ride home at night or sends texts to IUPD anonymously. 

"It's better to click a button and look at it there instead of saying, 'I don't know where I can go to get help,' and I think it's really important that students download that," Lees said.

Most importantly, she said to do what is most comfortable. 

"We do everything we can, and we use all our resources to investigate each case," Lees said.