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Reported sexual assault cases higher on LU campus
BEAUMONT-By: Leslie Rangel
According to Lamar University Police, since January, two women have reported they were sexually assaulted on campus.
Last semester, two women also reported sexual assaults. They are not pursuing criminal charges.
The Department of Education is looking at dozens of colleges across the country for failing to properly handle sexual assault cases on campus, Lamar is not one of those schools.
Some students and law enforcement officers are saying reporting sex assault cases at Lamar University might be a good thing.
Studies show, one in six women in college will be assaulted at some point while they're on campus.
Here at the Lamar University campus, two women we spoke with, say they don't feel like targets.
"I haven't known any stories, but I'm quite sure there is, but not much to feel uncomfortable," Chelsea Twine, a sophomore said.
"I do carry pepper spray just in case but around this campus I do feel safe," university freshman, Amanda Marshall says.
It's not that Lamar is free of crime, the University Police Chief says it means people are staying silent about sexual assault.
"It's a difficult crime to track, it's a very personal experience, a lot of people don't like to report it, it's traditionally it's considered a very under reported crime," Chief Jason Goodrich says.
A campus crime log report shows from August 2013 through April of this year, four female students were sexually assaulted.
Not one of them decided to press criminal charges.
"Campus sexual assaults is about 90 percent of them know the attacker, it's an acquaintance assault," Chief Goodrich says.
Blurred lines the Chief says make it difficult to file charges against the attackers.
"It's really not uncommon for the victim to have some type of feelings or they care about the individual," Goodrich said.
Although most women aren't pursuing charges, the university is encouraging them to at least report what happened to them.
"We're not concerned about the numbers going up, we know it's an under reported crime, we know there's things going on that traditionally haven't been reported so we're really hoping to get that into the light so we know what the true picture is," Goodrich says.
A clearer picture some students say could make everyone aware of the potential dangers.
"We're not aware that it's happening but people do things like you know we just walk around at night cause we don't' think it happens but it cane happen so I think they should report it," Marshall says.
The Lamar University Police Chief says if there's not enough evidence to charge a student with sexual assault, or if the victim does not want to file criminal charges, the university can still sanction the student, including removing them from campus.
To see up to date crime reports from LU click here.