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Police investigating two reports of sexual assault connected to off-campus party

The St. Joseph County Police Department is investigating two instances of sexual assault reported last weekend, according to an email from the Saint Mary’s campus safety department.

Phil Bambenek, the College’s director of the campus safety department, said in the email the assaults appear to be connected to at least one student party that occurred Friday night and Saturday morning at University Edge Apartments.

The email said one of the instances of sexual assault occurred when a student was coerced into a sexual act but then did not explicitly consent to any further activity.

The details of the second reported assault are unclear but it appears to be connected to the same University Edge student party, the email said.

Bambenek went on to give more information on what constitutes sexual assault and the definition of consent.

“Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given,” he wrote. “‘Consent’ means informed, freely given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance.’”

A person who is incapacitated is unable to give consent, Bambenek added. The email requested any witnesses to contact the police department at (574) 235-9611 to assist in the investigation.

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