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No evidence found in sexual assault inquiry

Claire Heininger | Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Medical tests conducted on a female Notre Dame student who awoke naked near an abandoned home Saturday morning – leading Notre Dame Security/Police to issue a campus-wide e-mail alert that afternoon – revealed no evidence of sexual assault, St. Joseph County Police Department spokeswoman Jaimee Thirion said Tuesday.

“[The incident] was originally investigated as a potential rape but was not,” Thirion said, adding that she was unaware of the student’s blood alcohol content upon checking in to the hospital. “There was no evidence that she was attacked.”

The student, whose last memory of the night was dancing at the Linebacker Lounge on South Bend Avenue, awoke in a yard adjacent to the athletic fields east of campus and requested the tests after realizing that her clothes were missing and discovering bruises on her body, said Thirion. Hospital officials, who are required to report all rape examinations to police, notified St. Joseph County authorities, prompting them to contact NDSP.

Phillip Johnson, assistant director of NDSP, said he chose an immediate e-mail because students may have missed a poster or phone call during the hectic environment of move-in weekend.

“The purpose of a timely notice was to alert students so that they could take measures to avoid further criminal activity,” he said, but added that NDSP was unaware of a pattern or of any other incidents of this nature.

Though no additional security patrol was assigned over the weekend as a result of this specific report, Johnson said officers try to provide a visible presence in potentially dangerous areas such as the lakes and parking lots.