UM Issues Timely Warning on Drug Related Aggravated Assault
The University of Montana issued a Timely Warning on Monday afternoon about a drug-related aggravated assault that allegedly occurred in a UM residence hall in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 12.
University of Montana Police Chief Brad Giffin spoke to KGVO News moments after the Timely Alert was issued and said the report did not come directly through the UM Police Department.
“We have what are called Campus Security authorities over here,” said Chief Giffin. “They're people other than the police that can receive a report, and some of those folks received a report from someone who believed that they were suffering from the effects of being drugged or ‘roofied’. So with that report, once it was forwarded to us, we have an obligation under Cleary (the Cleary Act) to put up that information. It's an open investigation, so I don't have a lot more than that to share with you right now. Other than that, the victim is reporting that they believe that they were drugged, and that there was a drug facilitated assault.”
Chief Giffin expanded on the circumstances and the possible charges that may be involved in the alleged incident.
“So the allegation is that it occurred over the weekend, and we're not sure as far as the timeliness of it just yet, because we're getting it from a different reporting mechanism,” he said. “So once we do a little follow up, we'll have a little more specific information. It kind of depends on what happened. I mean, if there was an assault as a result of being drugged, obviously, that the sexual assault whether it is sexual intercourse without consent, or a fondling type of a case then those would be there, and you would have the assault portion of it for (spiking )the drink. It just kind of depends on the totality of the circumstances, what the charges would be.”
Giffin said it is extremely important to emphasize that the alleged victim bears no responsibility for what happened, only the alleged perpetrator.
“Most important thing, first off to talk about though, is that we want people to understand that perpetrators of these crimes are solely responsible for the crimes that they commit,” he said. “The victims are not responsible, and I think that needs to be the clarifying statement out front.”
Giffin acknowledged that drinking does take place on college campuses, but there are some safety measures that should always be followed.
“We just want people to be cautious,” he said. “If you are drinking in an unfamiliar area, either bring your own mix or your own drinks or have somebody watch them. If you lose track of a drink when you're out, it's oftentimes better to just dump it out and get a fresh one. Don't accept drinks from people that you don't know and trust. Its simple little things like just watching out for one another so that things like this don't happen.”
Anyone who may have information about the assault is asked to contact the University of Montana Police Department at 243-4000.
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