Morning Security Brief: Sexual Assault on College Campuses, Spillover Violence, and Human Trafficking
A university erred in failing to release reports of sexual assaults on campus. A GAO report attempts to measure spillover violence from the southwest border. And efforts to curb human trafficking are underway.
►A report by the Board of Regents for Oklahoma State University (OSU) has issued a report on the university’s response to a series of sexual assaults that occurred on OSU’s campus in the Fall of 2012. In the case, five students reported being sexually assaulted by an upperclassman. All of those involved were members of the same fraternity. These students reported the assaults only to the school and awaited the school’s action. After the sixth victim decided to pursue the matter with the Stillwater (Oklahoma) Police Department (SPD) rather than pursue disciplinary recourse through the university, the media was alerted to the incidents. News outlets accused OSU of misconduct in failing to report crimes. OSU released a statement saying that, under the federal Family Privacy Act, they were obligated to keep the names of the victims and the perpetrator confidential and could not report the incidents to the police. The Board of Regents found that the university “misinterpreted” federal law and could have reported the sexual assaults to local police without violating any federal law. The board’s report noted that the law “explicitly allows the educational agency or institution to contact its law enforcement agency for the purpose of asking that unit to investigate a possible violation of the law.” Despite OSU’s actions, however, the board found that there was no evidence that the university had any improper reason for the delay in reporting the assaults.
► The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on the amount of violence that spills over from drug-related homicides in Mexico into the United States. Because no federal definition of such crimes exists, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program does not track spillover crime, the task proved to be difficult. The GAO interviewed officials from 37 state and local law enforcement agencies. Of these 31 stated that they do not regularly observe spillover crime from Mexico, but 33 were nonetheless concerned about the issue. The limited data the GAO was able to collect shows that there is some indication that the situation may be improving. For example, an analysis of data gathered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows that assaults on agents at the southwest border ports of entry have declined by 25 percent since 2006.
►A report released by the Congressional Research Service explores the current state human trafficking around the globe. The report was requested by Congress to ensure that the funding and oversight of antitrafficking efforts are sufficient and do not duplicate other programs. The report notes that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) expired at the end of 2011 but that S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which was recently approved by both houses of Congress would modify some of the TVPA’s grant programs, expand reporting requirements, create new criminal penalties for trafficking offenses, and reauthorize appropriations through 2017.