Student in sexual assault incident changes her report

UPDATE, 11:34 p.m.: In an e-mail statement, Laura Wankel, vice president for Student Affairs, has declined to provide any comments on the matter because it is still under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Wankel described the past week as “difficult and tumultous (sic)” for the Seton Hall community in the e-mail. She said she will hold a student leaders’ meeting on Monday, Nov. 23, to “outline plans to move forward.”

Wankel said she remains concerned about the occurrences.

“I remain concerned for the individual who is at the center of this incident,” Wankel said. “I am especially concerned for the damage that has been done to our collective sense of campus security.”

Wankel assured that safety was still a top priority.

“My staff and I remain committed to working with all members of our campus and local community to restore confidence and to strengthen our campus safety programs and policies,” Wankel said.

UPDATE: The Star-Ledger has reported that the on-campus sexual assault, previously reported as not having occurred, may have actually happened off-campus on a nearby street in South Orange by someone the student knew, according to investigators.

Anthony Ambrose, chief of detectives at the prosecutor’s office, told The Star-Ledger the investigation is continuing but students should not be alarmed as the off-campus alleged assault was an isolated incident.

Thomas White, a spokesman for Seton Hall, also told The Star-Ledger that the investigation was continuing, and the broadcast e-mail was not meant to imply the investigation had concluded.

As previously reported, the student who was involved in the sexual assault incident has changed her report and has indicated that she was not sexually assaulted by a stranger on-campus, according to a broadcast e-mail sent to the community Friday evening by Laura Wankel, vice president for Student Affairs.

The change in the student’s report came following an investigation led by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office which involved the South Orange Police Department and the University, Wankel said in the e-mail.

According to Wankel, the University enhanced safety measures following the incident, which included additional student services.

“The safety and security of all on our campus continues to be our paramount concern,” Wankel said.

Jessica Sutcliffe can be reached at jessica.sutcliffe@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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