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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Highland Hall resident arrested on suspicion of sexual assault

Photo by Cody Clark

By Cody Clark 

CW: This story contains sexual assault.

A Western student was arrested at Highland Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 6 on suspicion of second-degree rape, according to a Western Alert sent out on Wednesday, Nov. 7. According to University Police media logs, police were contacted about a possible sexual assault that occurred at 10 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The reporting party went over to the suspect’s dorm in Highland Hall to drink, according to a probable cause statement read by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dona Bracke at the suspect’s initial appearance on Wednesday, Nov. 7. The reporting party had no romantic connection to the suspect, and informed him that she had never drank hard alcohol before, according to the statement. The suspect proceeded to pour both of them four or five shots of rum each, according to the statement.

After taking the shots, the reporting party began to feel dizzy and laid on the suspect’s bed because she was unable to walk, according to the statement. From there, prosecutors say the suspect poured her one or two more shots and proceeded to sexually assault her.

Two of the reporting party’s friends later told police they met her soon after the assault and she was extremely intoxicated, according to the probable cause statement. The reporting party was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Hospital for a sexual assault evaluation, the statement said.

The suspect, an 18-year-old student, was booked into Whatcom County Jail, according to the alert. The suspect was released from custody at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, according to the Whatcom County Jail Roster. Charges have not yet been filed.

University Police initially spoke with the reporting party, also a Highland Hall resident, on Nov. 6 at 1:30 p.m., according to police media logs. Police then returned to Highland Hall to arrest the suspect, media logs show.

Bail is set at $50,000 and a sexual assault protective order has been filed that prevents the suspect from being within 500 feet of the reporting party’s school, workplace or residence.  The suspect has also been trespassed from Highland Hall by University Police. His arraignment is set for Nov. 16 at 9 a.m.

“The short and long term physiological impacts of the victims of sexual assault are devastating to the community, not just to the victim,” Commissioner Angela Cuevas said during the hearing.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, Consultation and Sexual Assault Support is available at (360)-650-3700.

*Update 11/25 at 9:38 p.m.

At the arraignment held on Nov. 16, no charges were filed against the suspect and the sexual assault protective order that prevented the suspect from being within 500 feet of the reporting party’s home, school or workplace was rescinded. At this time, the suspect has no further obligations to the court, Commissioner Alfred Heydrich said during the arraignment.

According to deputy prosecuting attorney Jonathan Richardson, charges were not filed because the prosecutors office wants law enforcement to investigate the case further.

“I want to talk to witnesses myself and have law enforcement gather additional information,” Richardson said.



**Updated 11/7/2018 at 5:32 p.m. to include information from the probable cause statement and preliminary hearing

**Updated 11/9/2018 at 11:46 a.m. to reflect the suspect’s release from Whatcom County Jail.


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