The Stillwater Police Department confirms an investigation into sexual assault against fraternity members.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma State University released the following statement about the outcome of a student conduct investigation,
"Nathan Cochran was found responsible for four violations of Section III(D)(21) (sexual misconduct) of the OSU Student Code of Conduct and was suspended for three years commencing December 14, 2012 (end of semester) and was ordered to have no contact with any of the complainants."
Cochran has not been arrested or charged with any crimes, and while police department official says they are investigating a former OSU student and fraternity member on allegations he sexually assaulted other fraternity members, police have not said that person is Cochran.
The Stillwater Police Department appears to be in the early stages of their investigation into sexual assault allegations involving a former member of the FarmHouse Fraternity.
Stillwater Police Captain Randy Dickerson tells FOX23 there are four possible victims they have made contact with, but they think there could be dozens more who were sexually assaulted by this suspect
Oklahoma State University officials confirm to FOX23 they learned of these allegations on November 11th after members of the FarmHouse fraternity took their concerns to the school's Interfraternity Council.
OSU then launched a student conduct investigation that wrapped up on November 30th.
Stillwater Police were never called until a reporter from The Daily O'Collegain student newspaper called the Department late last week after getting an anonymous e-mail detailing the incident.
In a statement Tuesday, the University expanded on why they did not contact local police,
“From the outset, Oklahoma State University took the allegations very seriously and took immediate action. Since no minors were involved, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, OSU could not release the names of any victim or witness without their consent.”
FarmHouse fraternity members defended their actions on Monday saying they followed accepted protocol for these types of incidents.
“We immediately turned the matter over to the University. It's now being held as a matter of student conduct. None of the alleged acts occurred in the house, and the individual is no longer associated with us,” Nick Joradn, Chapter President of FarmHouse, said.
Police are not releasing the names of anyone involved in this investigation, and neither is OSU citing privacy laws. Police did say the sexual assaults are alleged to have happened in Stillwater, on OSU property, and also in Tahlequah.
Police say the victims in the case are younger than the suspect.
FOX23 asked Stillwater Police if this was related to hazing in any way, and Dickerson told us, "No. It appears this was a sexual predator preying on young boys.”
Jordon echoed that, “I understand the severity of the situation, and I understand why people are concerned about the situation, but I guarantee you everyone in the house is safe.”
Tahlequah Police say they are waiting on Stillwater Police to finish their investigation before launching one of their own. A detective in Tahlequah did say the alleged assault in his jurisdiction happened during an OSU school break.
OSU said campus police officers conducted their first interviews with the alleged victims in this case on Tuesday.
The Farmhouse Fraternity Executive Director, Chad Harris, released this statement:
The safety and security of our members is of vital concern and is of the utmost importance to our organization. As such, we are taking this matter very seriously.
The fraternity has investigated and is assured that the chapter's response has been appropriate and accurate in following the fraternity's policies and procedures. It is our understanding that these allegations stem from the behavior of one individual, who is no longer affiliated with FarmHouse Fraternity. Any member whose behavior is not in accordance with the Fraternity's policies and principles is held accountable for his actions. This alleged behavior does not align with the practices or principles of FarmHouse Fraternity. The alleged incidents did not occur at the chapter's fraternity house and were in no way part of a fraternity event, nor were they part of the new member education program of FarmHouse Fraternity.
We appreciate Oklahoma State University's lead in further investigating this matter. FarmHouse Fraternity thanks the University for the support it has provided to the members of FarmHouse Fraternity, especially with the start of final exams this week.
Stillwater Police said they have made contact with several victims but believe there are "a large number who have yet to contact the department."
Local therapist Andre Campbell with Domestic Violence Intervention Services said Tuesday men often feel a stigma when they report that they've been sexually assaulted.
"There is stigma in the fact that when a man says that they're sexually assaulted and it comes across that they are weak, and they weren't smart enough or strong enough (to stop it)," Campbell said.
Stillwater Police say anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the department at 405-742-8287.