U of U campus police release more information on reported assault outside Marriott Library

U of U police Lt. Brian Wahlin (inset) spoke to the media following a reported assault outside the campus library on Monday, March 25, 2019. Photos: University of Utah website

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 26, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — University of Utah Police officials have released a little more information about a sexual assault reported on campus, in the parking lot of the Marriott Library, at about 10:30 Monday night.

Lt. Brian Wahlin told reporters that the victim was a female, the suspect is believed to be a male. Wahlin did not reveal whether the victim is a student at the U of U.

Wahlin also said it will take a little while before accurate information can be obtained from follow-up interviews with the reported victim.

Officials were notified of the assault just after midnight Tuesday morning, and responded to a hospital where the victim was being treated.

“Upon arrival there and meeting with the victim, it was determined that this all actually took place at 10:30 p.m., prior to that, so we were getting into this a little over an hour and a half after it was reported to  have occurred.

“At this point in time, we are following all information and all leads that we have, utilizing technology and other means here on campus to track down leads and see what we can do to determine who’s responsible for this assault at this point in time.”

Wahlin said that the victim will require a some recovery time before productive interviews can be conducted.

“To make everybody aware, these do take some time and we don’t have a lot of answers at this point in time,” he said.

“These type of investigations, particularly in sexual assault type investigations, are victim driven. And in order to allow our victim in this case time to work through that trauma and get through the event that she’s been through, we require at least two sleep cycles for her in order to be able to have a follow-up interview with her to get the facts that would be accurately presented.

“She would not be able to present accurately the type of information that would be required at this point in time. So there’s going to be a delay in getting that type of information.”

The lieutenant did not reveal where he got the information about necessary sleep cycles.

Wahlin said his department currently is following leads and looking for evidence. In addition, campus security has been stepped up.

“We’ve increased patrols, called in additional manpower to ensure the safety of our campus and to help with any information that may be coming in to our department at this point in time, and also to be out and to be available to anyone and everyone who is on our campus to have a police presence, but not just police, but security as well, and to provide courtesy escorts to anybody who feels that would be necessary throughout today and the coming days.”

Another U of U official on scene defended waiting until 5 a.m. to put out the safety alert to University of Utah students and employees, saying there’s always a balance required between being timely and accurate, making sure incorrect information is not released.

The quick release of information on the reported attack follows a U of U promise to increase security after student athlete Lauren McCluskey was shot to death outside her dormitory on Oct. 22, 2018.

McCluskey and her parents had previously alerted campus police of concerns about threatening behavior her former boyfriend, Melvin Shawn Rowland.

Rowland, who was spotted fleeing the scene, fatally shot himself at a nearby church as police closed in.

Student Lauren McCluskey was killed in a shooting on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Photo: University of Utah/Steve C. Wilson


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