A week after three N.C. State University students told police they were sexually assaulted during a campus party, the team of detectives assigned to the case has not made any arrests.
The Wake County District Attorney’s Office has been assisting the investigators by helping them obtain search warrants and court orders to corroborate the womens’ claims that they were the victims of rape and sexual battery.
“In this specific case, our special victims unit has been providing input as needed as to the various investigative steps to take during the course of the investigation,” Lorrin Freeman, the district attorney, said Friday afternoon.
The alleged assaults happened between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. July 21 at Timber Hall, a student apartment building at Wolf Village, near Western Boulevard.
“There were three separate sexual assaults reported at one location,” said NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman, who described the alleged assaults as “a series of events over a period of time.”
The alleged victims knew the men who they said assaulted them.
“It was not a stranger assault,” Moorman said.
The campus police department made public incident reports that indicated two of the students told police they had been raped, while the third student told police she was the victim of sexual battery, the reports show.
One of the cases is being investigated as second-degree forcible rape after the alleged victim told police a suspect had sexual intercourse with her after she was given alcoholic beverages and an unnamed drug, according to one incident report.
A second case is being investigated as second-degree rape. Alcohol was determined to not be a factor in that case, or the sexual battery case, according to the incident reports.
“I feel confident the N.C. State police are taking this seriously and are trying to figure out exactly what happened to two conflicting versions of what happened,” Freeman said.
Brad Bohlander, chief communications officer at NCSU, said Friday, “This is obviously a very distressing and difficult situation. University Police, in consultation with the District Attorney’s Office, are conducting a thorough investigation – that investigation is ongoing. The university’s top priorities are ensuring a complete and thorough investigation, and making certain appropriate support services are provided and due process is followed for all involved.”
Freeman declined to speak specifically about the N.C. State case, but she echoed Moorman, who emphasized the importance of talking to everyone involved and gathering evidence.
“We attempt to interview witnesses who may have information,” she said. “People who were there during the event and anyone the victim may have come in contact with immediately afterward.”
In addition to interviews and physical evidence, the investigators also search for communication between the alleged victims and suspects, including records of phone calls and text messages.
But the evidence, or even a strong hunch that something happened, does not always lead to criminal charges, Freeman said.
Moorman, during his news conference this week, promised a slow and thorough investigation.
“It can go one for weeks and sometimes for even longer,” she said. “I have seen cases, for example, where a rape kit has been taken that could take months to process. I don’t anticipate that with this case, but it could still be some time before we make a determination as to whether we’ll be issuing any legal challenges.”
The cases were reported to members of the housing staff at Timber Hall on Saturday night, Moorman said.
Freeman declined to comment Friday when asked whether rape kits had been obtained.
“I don’t want to get too specific,” she said.