Northwestern student sexually assaulted in Evanston dorm room, university says

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwestern University sent out an alert just hours after a student was sexually assaulted in her dorm room on the Evanston campus.

The offender is not a Northwestern student, officials said, and no weapon was used.

The woman knew her attacker, whom she had met online earlier, police said. She had arranged to meet him at an Evanston CTA station on Monday. From there, she invited him back to her dorm room, where the assault occurred between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Northwestern alerted students to the situation within three hours.

"We got the email last night at 10:22. I didn't expect them to send an email about that. It's sad someone had to go through that. I hope they can catch the perpetrator," Christopher Landy, freshman, said.

"I hadn't received an email like that before, I thought it was good they addressed the situation right away instead of letting rumors spread," Megan McGlaughen, Northwestern University student, said.

The university also posted a security alert on the website.

Students say what was missing was a description of the offender.

"You want everyone to be aware, but there was no physical description given of the person. So by telling everyone, there is no one for us to look for," Aria Charles, Northwestern student, said.

Despite the lack of a description, rape victim advocates said Northwestern's promptness in alerting students means the school is taking the assault seriously. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said not being believed by the system is one of the main reason why 80-percent of rapes are no reported as crimes in Illinois.

"These numbers clearly signal that our response to crimes of sexual assault isn't effective," Madigan said. She has put together a working group that includes state's attorneys and victims' advocates. The goal is to improve medical care and evidence collection, including speeding up the time it takes to test rape kits. Another priority is improving communication between investigators, prosecutors and the victims.

"Often time a rape victim knowing that they're believed, know they are supported, knowing everybody gave their best effort can be as healing as any sort of final outcome in a court of law," Polly Poskin, IL Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said.
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