The two suspects accused of rape in two separate incidents at Cal Poly dormitories within the same week will not face criminal charges.
University Police Department Chief Bill Watton said late Tuesday that investigators were not able to collect sufficient evidence to move either case forward with criminal proceedings.
These incidents — which reportedly took place May 12 and 15 — were the second and third rapes reported to university police within nine days with victims who were said to have been unconscious and intoxicated.
The first is alleged to have happened May 7 at an off-campus fraternity house.
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The latter two cases, now closed as criminal cases, have been forwarded to the college’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities — the disciplinary arm of the university — for its own investigation. If enough evidence is found, sanctions against the suspects could include expulsion.
Watton would not release additional details about the two cases — including whether a so-called date-rape drug was used — saying that the victims’ rights to privacy come first.
“It is very difficult to prove these cases criminally because the threshold is so high for criminal prosecution,” Watton said.
“It has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the event occurred as alleged, and that is very difficult to do.”
That, Watton added, “doesn’t mean that there is no culpability, and it doesn’t say that the survivor is not telling the truth — it means there is not enough evidence or witnesses to prove the case.”
These two cases were reported days after Cal Poly student Joseph Trupiano turned himself in to the San Luis Obispo Police Department in connection with the first alleged rape. That incident reportedly happened at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house on California Boulevard in San Luis Obispo.
Trupiano was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail and released on $100,000 bail.
The case was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal charges. An arraignment in that case is scheduled for Thursday.
“We absolutely want survivors to come forward, and anything we can do to make it more comfortable and easier for them to do that we are more than willing to do,” Watton said. “If we don’t know it happens, then we can’t put our resources where they need to be.”