By Zoe Deal
Content warning: This article contains references to assault and retellings of events from survivor’s written statements.
Assault charges against a Western journalism alumnus have been amended from two counts of fourth-degree assault to two counts of disorderly conduct charges, according to court documents.
Evan Joseph Elliott, 22, appeared in Whatcom County District Court for pretrial Sept. 14 in response to charges of assault against two 21-year-old Western students, according to court documents.
The prosecuting attorney could not be reached for comment.
In separate written statements to University Police, the women reported that Elliott assaulted and groped them numerous times throughout the night of June 5. Both survivor’s accounts describe how the assaults continued as a group of graduating journalism students travelled to bars and restaurants around downtown Bellingham.
Elliott declined to comment. Elliott’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
According to police documents, the women tried to distance themselves from Elliott throughout the night and sought help from friends as Elliott continued to grab their buttocks and vagina.
While the reported assaults were said to have occurred on the same night, neither woman was aware of the other’s encounter with Elliott until leaving the gathering, according to police records.
After the survivors contacted a university staff member June 9, efforts were made by university staff to distance Elliott from one of the survivors who was also graduating during the June 10 ceremony, according to police records.
Elliott will return to court December 13 at 3 p.m. Until then, he remains on alcohol and drug probation. A pretrial fee of $150 was paid by Elliott to the Probation Department for monitoring, according to court documents. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor.
Elliott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism on June 10 after working on The Western Front from fall 2015 to fall 2016.