Officials comment on rape rumors

By Paul Wagner and Daron Walker

DeKalb officials said rumors concerning a string of stranger rapes on campus are not true.

“There is no string of rapes,” said DeKalb Police Sgt. Charles Kross.

Jon Dalton, NIU vice president for Student Affairs, said, “There have been a lot of rumors floating around. It is real important to get accurate information to students. There has been only one case involving an individual with a ski mask.”

Dalton said three stranger rapes have been reported to the police since Oct. 1. “They (police) have no reason to believe they (rapes) are connected,” he said.

DeKalb Police Chief Joe Maciejewski confirmed two reports of stranger rape have been reported recently. One occurred Oct. 13 and involved a man wearing a ski mask. The second occurred on Oct. 25 and involved a man wearing a scarf. He said there is no indication the two incidents are connected.

egarding rumors of additional sexual assaults, Maciejewski said, “We (police) have not had one single report of any of these alledged incidents,” he said.

Maciejewski said Dalton would meet with the NIU Sexual Assault Task Force later this week. “The purpose (of the meeting) is to discover the source of rumors and obtain factual information.”

Dalton said he is calling the meeting with the SATF to discuss ways to distribute accurate information to students. “I don’t want to minimize (the issue). It is important to keep it (the issue) in perspective,” he said.

Dalton said he would use the meeting with the SATF to “seek their information.”

NIU is not trying to “cover up” the issue, Dalton said. “That simply isn’t true. I would hope that it is clear the university wants people to be aware of the issue. We’ve run ads in the paper (about it)”

Dalton said there is confusion between the terms “acquaintance rape” and “stranger rape.” Acquaintance rape involves a person the victim knows, he said. This type of sexual assault is rarely reported to the police, he said. Acquaintance rape is usually dealt with on an informal basis, he said.

Stranger rape involves attacks committed by an unknown person, Dalton said. He said this type of assault almost always is reported to the police. There is a “great fear factor” linked to stranger rape, he said.

Dalton said there have been several acquaintance rapes reported to the university. However, he said only three stranger rapes have been reported.

People should not confuse statistics of stranger rape with statistics of acquaintance rape, Dalton said. “That might be an element that is confusing people.”

Signs concerning stranger rape have been posted in sorority houses and in some residence halls. NIU has not made any official notices to students in Greek Row or the residence halls, Dalton said.

“If anyone has any knowledge of assaults that have occurred, I hope they would call,” Dalton said. Student Affairs, the Counseling Center, the Ombudsman and the Judicial Office are prepared to speak to students, he said.

University Police Lt. Ken Kaiser said the department has received several calls from concerned parents and one call Monday from ABC television Channel 7 from Chicago.

Kaiser said Channel 7 told him they had received a call from a person concerned about rapes at NIU.