U of U police chief speaks out on open sexual assault cases

Local News

As his department investigates multiple sexual assaults on or near campus, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy is speaking out.

“I’m confident that through some hard work that we’re going to identify this person,” said Chief Brophy.

Since the early morning hours of April 13, Brophy and his officers have been trying to track down the driver of a dark pickup truck in some surveillance pictures from Rice-Eccles Stadium.

It’s where a woman reported being attacked by a man while walking in the area.

“Anytime we have an incident on campus that has a safety component, we ramp up our patrols,” said Brophy. “We reiterate that we have courtesy escorts. They’re always available.”

The attack is one of two sexual assaults the campus police department is investigating from 2019, but those assaults may not paint the entire picture.

“Not all those come to the police department,” said Brophy. “You don’t have to report to the police department.

In fact, Chief Brophy says assaults can be reported to other offices on campus including the Student Center and the Office of Equal Opportunity, but if a student is interested in seeking justice it has to be reported to campus police.

A check of the university’s crime reports for the month of April found five incidents reported to police involving a sexual assault, stalking, fondling and domestic violence.

“It doesn’t have to come through the police department,” said Brophy. “If we don’t get it, we don’t investigate it.”

Students say they’re confident campus police are doing everything they can to solve these cases.

“It’s a tragic situation,” said Jarom Mercer, a Freshman. “Not all of these can be prevented. I feel that the people here at the university are doing the best that they can.”

“I definitely think that having more officers patrolling can help especially the heavy open areas that are easy to access by the public,” said Marli Stender, a junior.

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