Student charged with sexual assault

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A 21-year-old UA student was the second to be indicted for sexual assault this semester when a grand jury handed down a true bill last Tuesday.

Peter Hart Pisciotta, of the 7300 block of North Moon Spirit Lane, was formally indicted on one count of sexual assault. His name was withheld until a court summons could be served.

Pisciotta, a business and public administration and criminology sophomore, has been ordered to appear in court tomorrow for his arraignment. Sometime before this court appearance he must surrender to police at the Pima County Jail to be fingerprinted and photographed.

Pisciotta was accused of sexually assaulting a female student Nov. 1 at the Delta Chi fraternity house, 1701 E. First St. Peter Michael James, 19, an undeclared sophomore, was indicted Jan. 13 and charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student Nov. 5. He was arraigned last Tuesday and will appear in Pima County Superior Court March 7.

An arraignment is held after an indictment is handed down and sets the date for a pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference, the defendant appears before a Superior Court judge and a trial date is set or a plea bargain offered.

Dean of Students Melissa Vito said she is happy to see action taken on the two cases.

"My main feeling is these are two separate incidents that need to stay independent of each other," Vito said. "Right now we need to let the legal process unfold. I appreciate that the county attorney elected to move forward and it pleases me very much."

She said although sexual assault is a delicate issue, these cases may bring more discourse about it to campus.

"The issue is very emotionally charged," Vito said. "This is bringing about a real heightened awareness on campus and that is very valuable."

Judson Grubbs of the Interfraternity Council said he does not want to speculate on how the indictments will affect the Greek community and people's opinion of it. He stressed that both sexual assaults are alleged and that no one has been found guilty.

According to UAPD Sgt. Brian Seastone, the victim reported the sexual assault to police in the early morning of Nov. 1. She was then taken to University Medical Center and treated.

In the police report, the victim said she was unclear on much of the incident because she had passed out after drinking earlier in the evening.

She did remember leaving a party with friends to go to another party at the Delta Chi house. She said she talked to a man in his room and then remembered waking up to the man on top of her "raping" her. She then reported hearing the bedroom door close and realized that her shoes and undergarments were off.

The victim told police a man then entered the room and said he was there to help her. After getting dressed, she called her roommate from the fraternity and told her what happened.

After investigation, police found Pisciotta had had contact with the victim that evening. When reports of the investigation were given to the Pima County Attorney's office, it decided to bring the case against Pisciotta to grand jury.

Vito said she was unsure if the indictment would have an effect on Delta Chi's return in the fall.

"It's difficult to say if it will affect Delta Chi's return because no one has been found guilty yet," Vito said. "But as more information comes forward we will continue examining it."

Delta Chi was declared inactive by its international chapter and lost its recognition as an official student organization at the UA. The decisions were based on a series of safety violations during the spring and fall semester. The alleged sexual assault was not a factor considered in any of the decisions.

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