March 3, 2009

*Breaking* Grad Student Charged With Sexual Assault


Our inbox has been flooding with news of an arrest that broke on The Poughkeepsie Journal website earlier today. A 26 year old Vassar graduate student who works on campus was arrested for sexual abusing a female student on February 28th. He is on $5,000 bail and has a court appearance on Monday. The Journal has released the man's name, although we will choose not to here.

According to The Poughkeepsie Journal:

A Vassar College graduate student was arrested today and accused of sexually abusing a female student in her dormitory, Town of Poughkeepsie police reported.

[Name omitted here] 26, who also resides on the Vassar campus, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree, a felony. He was jailed on $5,000 bail pending an appearance in town court Monday, police said. [Name omitted] is accused of committing the crime in the female student’s room on the night of Feb. 28.

Update: Dean Roellke was quick to address the issue in an all campus email sent earlier this evening. "A member of the campus community has been charged and is in police custody. The Town of Poughkeepsie Police continue to investigate."

Update 2: According to the Mid-Hudson News, the assault happened in Lathrop.

Update 3: According to KISS FM, the student was taken to the Dutchess County Jail. The student is facing 14 months to 4 years in jail for sexual abuse in the fourth degree.


Andrew Bennett said...

I think we have to keep in mind that sexual assault occurs on our campus more often than it is reported in local news. Every instance is reprehensible, and I hope my fellow students will stand beside me in vehemently condemning every act of sexual violence that happens at Vassar, in our community, and across the world.

I applaud the victim in this case for her courage in seeking justice through the New York judicial system. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be to recount those horrible events over and over to police, lawyers, and jurors.

Reluctantly, I feel compelled to remember that the allegations are just allegations at this point and that I am not familiar with the circumstances of this particular incident.

Nevertheless, I hope the public attention to this inspires us to fight against sexual assault on our campus. We should support the Office of Health Education's ongoing preparation for an event during Freshmen Orientation in August about consent. We should commit ourselves to frank discussions of sex and consent.

Finally, I would like to thank TA President Riane Harper for her leadership on this issue in demanding that we pay attention sexual assault on campus at the VSA Council meeting on February 15th.

Andrew Bennett '09

Luis Gabriel said...


It's tacky to comment on an issue like this.

catlady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Bennett said...


Do you really believe it is tacky to condemn violence against women, applaud a victim who empowers herself through the court system, and call on the Vassar community to address sexual violence?

I have been thinking about the culture of sex at Vassar ever since Riane brought it up in Council, and this incident provides an unfortunate catalyst to an important discussion about sex and consent.

Alex said...

I agree with Andrew, but it's strange to me that the aggressor has been charged so early on. I would understand his arrest and detention, but the whole story doesn't seem clear at this point. I feel like the speedy way with which he's been charged could have racial motivations; he's a person of color, so he's guilty until proven innocent.