Crime victims assured confidentiality

By Daron Walker

Identities of victims and witnesses of violent crimes, such as sexual assault, can be kept confidential if they come forward to the University Judicial Office and local law enforcement agencies.

University Judicial Office Director Larry Bolles said information about crime cases is required by law to be kept confidential under the Family Privacy Act.

“We don’t release that information,” he said.

Bolles said the difference between the university system and the court of law system is that cases are strictly confidential at NIU.

Bolles said the judicial office does not have the power to sentence anyone to jail, but it can remove someone from the university or ban the individual from campus.

“A student can file a complaint, and then a student can be expelled,” Bolles said.

e said many people confuse the university judicial system with the local court system on the point of confidentiality. In the local court system, complaints are open to the public, Bolles said.

Cases can be kept confidential at NIU because they are “not part of the public record,” he said.

Bolles said the office has handled cases of sexual assault “where students wanted to make sure their name was not part of a complaint.”

Capt. James Webster, of the University Police Department, said confidentiality of a case will be respected.

“They (witnesses and victims) can come into the department, and it will be confidential up to the time a complaint is signed, then it is a legal matter,” Webster said.

Det. Jim Rhoades, of the DeKalb Police Department, said information in crime cases is withheld to protect the victims. “As much as possible, names will not be released up until the time the case goes to court.”

hoades said during the initial investigation of a case all information will remain confidential.