Staff Report NEWS

The UT Police Department received a report of a fondling incident at 9:51 p.m. Wednesday. 

Occurring at Hodges Library, the female student reported that on May 1 between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. that she was followed and assaulted by a male. The female said the assault took place on the 5th floor when the male suspect touched her buttocks, without her consent.

After the contact, the female said the male followed her to the 6th floor, where the female student asked him to stop as she sat with a friend.

When UTPD responded, the suspect was not in the library. The female couldn't identify the suspect, but said she believed his is affiliated with the university. An official report was not filed with UTPD because the female student declined.

“Fondling is a criminal offense and defined by the Clery Act and the FBI as the touching of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity,” the email defined. “Fondling is classified by Tennessee statute as sexual battery, which is an offense punishable by law.”

The Clery Act requires universities receiving financial aid to disclose and record information on crime. Under The Clery Act, universities are required to notify students about certain crimes like burglary, murder and rape.

In the email, the UT Clery Compliance Coordinator gave students advice and safety tips on what to do when attacked and encouraged downloading the Guardian app that connects students to resources like UTPD. The email also defined consent.

Sexual assault survivors can report to UTPD, the Sexual Assault Response Team, the Office of Equity and Diversity, among others. A list of resources and contacts can be found at titleix.utk.edu.

“If you are victim of a crime, we encourage you to report the incident as soon as possible so appropriate measures can be taken for your safety and the safety of others,” the email concluded. “If you see something that doesn’t look right or makes you feel concerned, please report that as well.” 

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