Sex offenses at USC increased in 2015

Design by Katlyn Lee

Design by Katlyn Lee

The number of reported sex offenses at USC went up in the past year, though the number of reported rapes has decreased, according to new data released in the Department of Public Safety’s 2016 Annual Security Report.

Forty-one total sex offenses — including 11 rapes and 28 fondling cases — were reported in 2015, compared to 18 rapes and 13 fondling cases the previous year. A footnote in the report explains that 12 of the 28 fondling incidents were carried out by one individual, who was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department and pleaded guilty to battery on school grounds for slapping girls’ buttocks on and around campus.

The data showed that an equal number of rapes occurred on campus, in student housing and in a non-campus environment. Furthermore, two statutory rapes were reported on campus this year, which the report explains resulted from a California law that prevents minors from engaging in sexual intercourse, as neither can legally give consent.

Crimes reported as part of the Violence Against Women Act increased this year from 17 to 27, with the greatest increase in the number of stalking cases. The act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, dedicates special federal funding to addressing crimes against women.

The report indicated that the number of violent crimes in 2015 other than sexual assault stayed mostly the same from the year prior, with 12 reported robberies, nine cases of aggravated assault, and 29 burglaries. In 2014, 11 robberies, 10 cases of aggravated assault and 30 burglaries were reported.

Cases of motor vehicle theft tripled this year, from six to 18, while arrests for drug violations rose from 18 to 32. The number of disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations remained high at 539, though a downward trend can be observed that shows referrals decreasing from 563 in 2013 to 555 last year.

Three hate crimes were reported in 2015, of which the report said two were classified as simple assault with a bias of national origin while one was classified as intimidation with a bias of religion.

The University is required to report its crime statistics as part of the Clery Act, which mandates that crimes which occur within the geographic area of campus or are reported to a campus security authority must be disclosed by Oct. 1 of each year. Online versions of the 2016 and 2015 Annual Security Reports are available on the DPS website, while paper copies of the previous seven years’ reports can be obtained upon request from the DPS archives.

The Department of Public Safety was not available for comment.