No charges have been filed by N.C. State University police following reports of three female students being sexually assaulted by male students during a Friday party at a campus apartment. But a team of detectives has been assigned to the case, and investigators are consulting with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.
“It’s unusual. I don’t recall a time in the past where we’ve had three sexual assaults at the same time,” NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman said during a Monday afternoon news conference. “Our entire investigative unit is working on the case.”
Moorman said the team of four detectives are “talking to all parties and gathering evidence. ... We want to talk to all involved parties and get to the bottom of this.”
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The alleged assaults happened Friday between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. at Timber Hall, a student apartment building at Wolf Village, near Western Boulevard, Moorman said.
“There were three separate sexual assault reported at one location,” said Moorman, who described the alleged assaults as “a series of events over a period of time.”
The police chief did not provide details about the nature of the reported assaults.
“Sexual assault is a general term,” he said. “It’s not necessarily rape, but it could be.”
The alleged victims knew the men who they said assaulted them.
“It was not a stranger assault,” Moorman said. “The individuals involved do know each other.”
Moorman said the campus police department has 56 sworn officers who patrol the campus. Private security guards also work at Wolf Village, and a housing staff works there around the clock. The police department found out about the reported assaults on Saturday.
The police department made the information available to the campus community on Sunday.
Colleges and universities that participate in financial aid programs are required by federal law to keep and disclose information about crime on or near their campuses.
Moorman said his department wanted to make sure it had the basic facts about the case before releasing the information to the public. He also said he wanted to balance the requirements of federal law with the needs of the campus population, while not compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.
“You want to make sure you send out a timely release, but not enough time for suspects to get their stories together,” he said.
Wolf Village is an apartment-style residence community on N.C. State’s campus. It is open during school breaks, with resident advisers on site.
Moorman would not say whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the assaults.
Wolf Village was quiet Monday afternoon, with only a few students entering or leaving the apartment buildings. The four-story, red-brick Timber Hall sits just across from MacKenzie Hall, where Nicholas Hynes, a 19-year-old sophomore, moved in earlier this month.
Police would not say where the reported assaults occurred in Timber Hall, but Hynes on Monday pointed to a third-floor window where he sees “flashy, neon lights” at night.
“Those lights are on all the time,” he said. On Friday night between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Hynes said he saw the neon lights in the window and heard loud music.
“It was typical party music,” he said.
Hynes said he was appalled Sunday after he heard about the reports of sexual assault. “It was unnerving because it was right across from me,” said Hynes, a technology engineer and design education major from Beaufort.
According to the NCSU Police Department’s annual security report, the campus in 2016 reported nine on-campus rapes and seven more at residential facilities. In those instances, four of the cases were unfounded.
Moorman said the current investigation is not likely to end quickly. His detectives will continue to consult with the district attorney and collect evidence “until we’ve exhausted all leads.”
“We have young people, many who are away from home for the first time,” Moorman said. “This is very traumatic. We want to make sure we are doing all we can to protect the individuals in what is a long and difficult process. We are not just investigating a crime. We want to make sure the students have what they need.”
Staff writer Jane Stancill contributed to this report.