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Students worried about safety after classmate reports rape

The University of Utah is on high alert after finding out one of its students had been raped.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The University of Utah is on high alert after finding out one of its students had been raped.

Students are frightened and think this is being handled poorly by University Police.

The rape happened on January 22, 2014. The woman reported the rape to campus police on February 6th, 2014.
“There is someone out there. There is a rape that occurred and it's something where now our safety is in jeopardy. Now it feels a little more real,” said sophomore Mechale Maxwell.

The girl was waiting on a UTA bus when the man called her over by name and asked to give her a ride. She got in the car where he brought her to a parking lot off Guardsman Way. It is less than a mile from campus police.

“We really just want the help from the community hopefully someone knows or has heard something they can help us resolve this case,” said Sgt. Garth Smith with the University of Utah police.

The man is described as a white man in his 20s with shoulder length sandy brown hair. Police say he is 6 feet tall and has a birth mark or scar on his left cheek. He was last seen driving a silver SUV.

When asked why it took so long to get information out to students Sgt. Smith said, “Initially we didn't want to interfere with the investigation. We were following up some leads as soon as they were exhausted we put the letter out as soon as we could and started soliciting the public.”

Students say it is a week to late.

“We still have a right to know about what's happening because it could happen to any of us,” said sophomore Jordan Lee.

“I feel like if that happens on our campus we should know about it that day if not the next day because he is still around. He could still be here,” said freshman Jenna Peterson.

The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault says they are familiar with the issue on campus.

“We have worked with campus personal who have let us know that the students have some frustration with the response of the administration to reports they have made of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” said Alana Kindness with UCASA.

The university says they are doing everything they can to help victims of sexual assault.

“I understand that law enforcement has a lot of things going on trying to figure out what the best way to investigate and catch potential rapist and perpetrators so we support what out law enforcement does,” Marty Liccardo Health Educator University of Utah.

In a new report the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC says that 80% of women are raped before age 25.

In 2013, 13 women reported they were raped on the University of Utah’s campus. This is the first case this year.

“That is a terrifying number and being a woman on campus and walking around and doing these things it is a scary reality that we have to face everyday,” said Maxwell.

If you have any information on this case or if you saw anything you are asked to call police at 801.585.2677.

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