Providence Police urge student sexual assault victims to report - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Providence Police urge student sexual assault victims to report crimes

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By: Alexandra Cowley

Providence Police make a public plea, urging victims of sexual assault to come forward immediately. This after recent cases of alleged rape at 2 Providence Colleges went unreported for months. In these cases, police say timing is everything.

A protest held by 22-year-old Brown student Lena Sclove earlier this week, prompted Providence Police to send a message to victims of sexual assault.

"It is imperative that we get that phone call as soon as something like that happens," said Providence police major David Lapatin.

Sclove says she was raped by another Brown student in August of last year. She reported it to the university, which suspended the student for a year. Allowing Scloves alleged attacker to return in the Fall of this year. She had two years left at Brown.

"I made it very clear to the administration that I did not feel safe with their decision," Scloves said at the protest.

So Sclove took her case to Providence Police, filing a report in February. 6 months after the alleged assault.

"By that time when they come to us we lose a lot of physical evidence and possibly witnesses," explained Major Lapatin.

Lapatin is working a similar case involving a Providence College student who accused two PC basketball players of rape. She didn't report it to police until 5 months later.

Lapatin says often students feel more comfortable going straight to the University instead of police, because they may not want to press charges. He wants sexual assault victims to know, they don't have to.

"Call the Providence Police let us get there, you can have your choice after whether you wish to pursue criminal charges or not, but lets have everything in place first," said Lapatin.

It's a message Sclove wishes she had. Now living with her parents, on medical leave from Brown University.

"Nobody told me go to the police and have the bruises on your neck photographed, and you don't have to make any decisions at this time. Had I known that I wish I had done that because the bruises went away and the evidence went away,"
said Sclove.

We reached out to Brown University for a statement. They informed us they can't speak specifically about sexual assault cases, but said they do encourage victims to file a report with police.

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