Police in southeast Ohio are investigating a rape that was apparently filmed by passersby and posted on social media.
An Ohio University student told police Sunday that she’d been sexually assaulted after she had been drinking the previous night sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
She filed the complaint after a video showing a man performing oral sex on her on a sidewalk in Uptown Athens had been posted to Instagram and screen shots of the video were circulated on Twitter, reported The (Athens) Post.
A university official said she was troubled by “some victim-blaming behavior” on social media, and police said they were concerned that someone recorded the incident and at least one bystander witnessed the apparent sexual assault and did not intervene.
“What is more disturbing are the social implications of what it means for someone to have been standing there watching this thing happen, videotaping it with their phone instead of getting involved and trying to help the victim,” said the campus police chief, Andrew Powers.
The images show a woman pressed against the window of Chase Bank on Court Street with a man kneeling in front of her, with his hands near her genitals.
The 20-year-old woman told police she didn’t know the man, who police said they had identified and has so far cooperated with their investigation.
He has not yet been charged, although police are investigating the case as a felony rape, which carries a possible 11-year prison term.
Police haven’t decided whether anyone who posted or circulated the images on social media would be charged in connection with the case, and investigators said they didn’t think any nearby surveillance cameras captured the incident.
The university’s Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will likely conduct its own investigation of the incident.
Those with information on this case are advised to call Crime Solvers Anonymous at 740-594-3331 or the Athens Police Department at 740-592-3313.