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By Tom Collins and Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 26, 1997

TPD investigating alleged rape

An 18-year-old University of Arizona freshman was allegedly raped and assaulted in an apartment north of campus Thursday Sept. 18, police said.

Tucson police Detective Ralph Taylor said the department was investigating an alleged rape at a North Park Avenue apartment complex.

The rape would be the first reported by a UA student this school year.

The investigation was ongoing and no details could be released yesterday afternoon, Taylor said.

Sources familiar with the incident told the Arizona Daily Wildcat two male students invited the woman, a sorority pledge, back to an apartment that evening where the alleged crimes occurred.

According to the sources, who requested anonymity, the woman eventually left the apartment and went to a fraternity house, before being brought to the University Medical Center.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that the woman had visited the hospital, but would not release any information.

The student and her family retained Phoenix lawyer Thomas Connelly, who would not comment Thursday on any matter relating to the family.

Her sorority also declined to comment on the incident.

Last Thursday's incident comes on the heels of two non-acquaintance rapes in Arizona State University residence halls early last week. Two teen-agers were arrested Tuesday in connection with the crimes.

The UA Dean of Students Office is responsible for investigating any code of conduct violations involving UA students, and rape falls in that category.

However, Alexis Hernandez, an associate dean of students, said privacy laws prevent him from confirming the incident.

"Once we're looking into a case then we can't talk about it at all. We can't even verify that we're looking into it," Hernandez said.

When rapes are reported to the Dean of Students Office, Hernandez said his first priority is to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"Any time a student might have been hurt it is a concern of ours," Herandez said. "We assure that they get the proper medical attention and counseling if that is needed."

In addition to helping victims deal with the trauma of violent crimes, Hernandez said the dean also may discuss appropriate legal action.

"We encourage them to consult with someone they trust," he added.

Sociology junior Colby Nordheimer, a phone counselor with the Tucson Rape Crisis Center, added that sexual assault victims need to address the crime and come to terms with it.

"It's something you have to deal with in order to successfully get on with your life," she said. And Nordheimer knows firsthand.

Nordheimer alleges she was raped on Halloween of 1994 after she drank too much during a party at the former Delta Chi fraternity house. The ensuing melee resulted in Delta Chi getting thrown off campus.

"We encourage anybody who's been victimized to call and talk about it," she said, adding the 24-hour hotline is 327-7273.

"I'd love the opportunity to speak with her personally to give her my loving support," Nordheimer said. "Keep your head high. Don't let people make you feel guilty for something that's not your fault."

-Todd Hardy, Amanda Riddle and Alicia Caldwell contributed to this report


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