Wittenberg Student Charged with Sexual Assault

On the afternoon of April 26, various reporters were combing campus for interviews on behalf of Wittenberg student Franklin Sullivan, 23, who recently was charged with sexual assualts.

untitledAccording to the Springfield News Sun he was charged with four counts of rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and sexual battery.

“I didn’t know why a news reporter was parked outside my house all day until he asked if I wanted to be interviewed regarding the Sullivan case,” Kaylee Gialamas, ‘16, said. “I am surprised that the media coverage is so widespread, but not surprised that this could happen on our campus.”

Sullivan appeared at the Clark County Common Pleas Court on Friday, where he was released without bond with the requirement of surrendering his passport, submitting a DNA sample and foregoing any contact with the female accusers.

According to Springfield Police Division case reports, the alleged assualts were reported the morning of April 26 between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The reports stated that the first event occurred on Aug. 13, 2015, with another on Nov. 30, 2015 and most recently on March 17 of this year. The two reports of alleged rape both described the victim as drug impaired. The accusers are listed as age 20, 22 and 23.

Sullivan was a member of the Wittenberg Men’s Baseball Team and student improvisation group, Pocket Lint. Assistant baseball coach and sports information director Kuris Duggan referred all questions and inquiries to Casey Gill, dean of students.

When asked if the accusers had previously made formal or informal complaints to university administration prior to April 26, Gill explained that, “Allegations related to violations of the Student Code of Conduct are part of students’ education records and, therefore, protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Wittenberg is not in the position to share students’ FERPA-protected information. We take all reports of any sexual misconduct very seriously, and work judiciously to address through our established policy and procedures.”

Gill added “When the university receives a formal complaint regarding sexual misconduct, we can put into place a series of interim measures to provide support to the reporting party(s). Further, we can take interim action against the responding student if it is deemed necessary to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of student(s), the Wittenberg community, property of the institution, or to protect the normal operation of the university.”

Waverly Hebert, ‘16, former president of No Woman Left Behind – an organization centered on the education of communities about sexual assault – was “shocked and saddened to hear about the charges filed against Sullivan. Wittenberg is a close-knit community, and I’m sure that as a community, we will emerge from this stronger and more aware,” Hebert said.

“I believe that Wittenberg has made great strides in the past few years towards educating the entire campus about issues concerning sexual assault and bystander intervention,” Hebert added.

“Wittenberg has tried to make sure that every student is aware of how to report sexual misconduct, and our dedicated and respectful staff make it even easier for students to feel comfortable coming forward.”

Wittenberg’s Student Handbook outlines the sexual misconduct policy with offering various resources to students to guarantee “health, safety and well-being of all Wittenberg community members,” the handbook reads. These resources include the Wittenberg Health and Counseling Center, Campus Emergencies, Wittenberg Police, Talk One2One Telephone Counseling and Project Woman of Springfield.

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