Third rape reported to Cal Poly university police

Latest alleged incident involves unconscious, intoxicated woman at Poly Canyon Village

nwilson@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2011 

The rape of an unconscious and intoxicated woman was reported Monday to university police at Cal Poly — the third such report within nine days.

Like the second reported rape, the latest incident took place Sunday in a campus dormitory at Poly Canyon Village, according to the University Police Department.

The other dorm rape reportedly occurred Thursday, and came after a report of a May 7 rape at an off-campus fraternity house. A Cal Poly student was arrested in connection with the first alleged incident.

“The suspect (of the latest reported incident) has been identified but is not in custody,” Cal Poly police Chief Bill Watton said.

Watton said the suspects are different individuals in each case and the incidents are not related.

He would not say whether the victims were drugged.

Cal Poly student Joseph Trupiano turned himself in last week to the San Luis Obispo Police Department in connection with the May 7 incident, which allegedly took place at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on California Boulevard.

He was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail and released on $100,000 bail. The county District Attorney’s Office has yet to file charges.

A report summary disclosed by the San Luis Obispo Police Department states that “abrasions and bruises” were listed in the “factual circumstances” of the case, though it doesn’t specify if they were found on the victim or Trupiano.

No arrest has been made in the Thursday incident, which also has an identified suspect.

Watton said police might hold back on arresting a suspect if they haven’t gathered enough evidence to hold the individual if a victim doesn’t want to press charges or if they can’t locate the suspect (which isn’t the case in the two reported Poly Canyon incidents).

Watton didn’t go into detail about why the two suspected in the campus incidents haven’t been arrested.

Cal Poly spokeswoman Stacia Momburg confirmed that university students, faculty and staff were alerted of the latest reported incident as required by the federal Clery Act.

The university has an alert system that notifies the campus community of crimes and emergencies by email and cellphone text messages.

That notice was not sent to local media, which Momburg said is not part of the university’s legal obligation.

But alerts about the assaults have been posted on the University Police Department’s website.

Momburg said three reports of sexual assaults in a month is an “anomaly” that she’s never seen in her six years at the university.

According to Cal Poly police statistics, since 2007, there have been five sexual offenses on campus, including two rapes, one sexual assault and two sexual batteries. Additionally, one rape occurred off campus but was listed in the statistics.

After the second reported rape, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong released a statement Friday condemning sexual assaults and calling for a change in culture to one “that does not tolerate sexual assault, that never blames the victims of sexual assault and that works to minimize alcohol and drug abuse.”

Cal Poly Vice President of Student Affairs Cornel Morton said he’ll meet with a task force Wednesday to discuss ways to foster change on campus and create an environment that discourages sexual assaults.

Morton said several members of the campus community have come forward to discuss how they can get involved and help prevent sexual assaults.

Poly Canyon Village doesn’t have freshmen residents — only upperclassmen — and students are allowed to drink at the dorms if they’re 21 or older, according to campus officials.

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