Sexual assault reported at Utah State fraternity, according to campus alert

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Old Main Building is at Utah State University.

Utah State University issued an alert to students Thursday after an individual reported being sexually assaulted at an off-campus fraternity late last month.

The warning states that the alleged attack occurred on Aug. 31 — and was later reported to school security officials by a third party.

The suspect is not known, according to the posting. But, it notes: “Drugs may have been used to facilitate this crime.”

The alert says that is all of the information currently available and encourages students who know anything about the incident to call campus police at 435-797-1939.

The school has seen several high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases in recent years — including allegations that first came to light in 2015 against former Utah State University linebacker Torrey Green, who was later convicted of attacking six women.

At least three other USU students have been charged or convicted in sexual assault cases alleged to have occurred since 2013. That includes a complaint against Ryan Wray, then-president of Pi Kappa Alpha, and another against Jason Relopez, then a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Wray pleaded guilty to attempted forcible sex abuse and was sentenced to six months in jail. Relopez pleaded guilty to attempted rape and forcible sexual abuse, admitting that he sexually assaulted two women in two years. He was sentenced to a year in jail.

In response to those cases, USU has put new policies in place to provide annual training to employees who are likely to receive reports of sexual assaults. And it has created reforms for its Greek system.

Chiefly, that includes requiring USU fraternities and sororities, which are private entities franchised by national organizations, to apply for recognition as official student organizations. That allows the school to directly monitor them and hold them to standards of conduct, even though their property is off campus.

Each house, too, must submit a review every semester identifying any reports or allegations of misconduct or alcohol-related infractions. And each chapter will be subject to random inspections.

The school is still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for its response to campus sexual assault in a federal review announced in 2017.

The alert Thursday — sent under a federal law that requires schools to notify students of potential dangerous crimes on or near campus — says everyone “has a responsibility to make our community safe.” The notice suggests how students can protect themselves, including understanding consent, calling police if they feel unsafe and intervening, if possible, to stop an unsafe situation.

It concludes: “The health and safety of the campus community is USU’s primary concern, and the university’s Amnesty Policy excuses students who report sexual misconduct from facing discipline for a violation of the student code involving drugs and alcohol.”