Brigham Young University sexual assault articles (AP)

Police review Brigham Young’s handling of sex-assault cases

June 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s Department of Public Safety has launched an investigation into whether Brigham Young University’s police department is appropriately sharing sexual assault case information.

BYU’s police department asked for the investigation so that an external party could examine whether it is correctly sharing these reports with other departments in the school and county, said Marissa Villasenor, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

The fact-finding investigation was initiated on Tuesday and follows the barrage of recent complaints over the school’s practice of opening honor code investigations into students after they report being sexually assaulted.

All BYU students must agree to abide by the honor code and violators can be expelled or otherwise punished. The code, which was created by students in 1949, prohibits such things as “sexual misconduct,” or “obscene or indecent conduct or expressions.” As it is currently written, reporting students could also be investigated for how much sexual contact they consented to before the assault.

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BYU launches sexual assault policy feedback website

May 19, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Brigham Young University launched a website for people to provide feedback on the school’s sexual assault policy, and is looking into revisions such as an amnesty clause that could give victims immunity from honor code violations committed in the lead-up to a sexual assault.

The Mormon-owned school launched the website Thursday, following the barrage of recent complaints over its practice of opening honor code investigations into students after they report being sexually assaulted.

The website is the first big change since BYU created an advisory council to examine its sexual assault policies a few weeks ago. The group is made up of four faculty members, including assistant nursing professor Julie Valentine.

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Report: Fewer sex assaults reported at BYU than many schools

May 12, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Students at Brigham Young University reported fewer on-campus sexual assaults than many other major Western universities over the past decade __ a finding that victims’ and others say could indicate a problem of under-reporting by people who are attacked.

The Mormon-owned school reported an average of about 1.5 sexual assaults for every 10,000 students a year from 2004 through 2014, the most recent data available, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data by The Associated Press.

All but one of the universities in the Pac-12 conference reported a higher annual average, with many reporting more than twice the number at BYU, the analysis shows. The data only includes sexual assaults on campuses.

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Police criticize BYU investigations into sex assault victims

Apr. 29, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Several Utah police officials are joining in calls to change Brigham Young University’s practice of opening honor code investigations into students after they report being sexually assaulted, as more sexual assault victims reach out to police to say they have felt silenced by the policy.

The decision by three Provo police leaders to call for changes at the Mormon-owned school marks a significant development in the insular, predominantly Mormon community.

BYU has already launched a review of the practice, but officials there haven’t said yet if they’ll make changes.

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BYU students investigated by school after reporting rape

Apr. 20, 2016

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Madeline MacDonald says she was an 18-year-old freshman at Brigham Young University when she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on an online dating site.

She reported the crime to the school’s Title IX office. That same day, she says, BYU’s honor code office received a copy of the report, triggering an investigation into whether MacDonald had violated the Mormon school’s strict code of behavior, which bans premarital sex and drinking, among other things.

Now MacDonald is among many students and others, including a Utah prosecutor, who are questioning BYU’s practice of investigating accusers, saying it could discourage women from reporting sexual violence and hinder criminal cases.

Some have started an online petition drive calling on the university to give victims immunity from honor code violations committed in the lead-up to a sexual assault.

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