Concerns over HVCC sex crime reporting

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Over the past few months, multiple Hudson Valley (HVCC) students sat down with NEWS10 ABC in a series of exclusive interviews saying the school intimidated them in meetings and told students not to report their rape cases to police.

An advocate, who attended those meetings with an alleged victim and school officials, corroborates an account one victim told NEWS10 ABC about two months ago.

“I woke up and because I had been drugged, I didn’t know what happened. I was covered in bruises, I was really sore,” An anonymous HVCC victim said.

She told us that after she was raped by another student, school officials encouraged her not to report to police.

“They told me I could go to the police but they were kind of adamant about handling it themselves.”

Instead, the student says she met several times with school counselors and administrators, but she was not always alone.

She was allowed to bring an advocate with her to these meetings.

Another student named Victoria now corroborates her account to NEWS10 ABC.

“They (the alleged victim) were always kind of scared to report to the police because they didn’t think they would be believed, Victoria Russo, a former HVCC student, said. “The school played into that. They played up the ‘it’s he said she said.’ They played up the ‘oh it’s been too long, well just take care of it, the police can’t.’”

An expert at the sexual assault and crime victims center at Samaritan Hospital says that every university has an obligation to present students with the option of reporting to police.

“It really should be made clear that a student has options and it’s not on the school to tell a student one way or the other what he or she should or shouldn’t do,” Lindsey Crusan-Muse, Director of the Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program at Samaritan Hospital, said. “It’s really just up to the school to inform that person of their rights.”

Russo says that after the school conducted an internal investigation and let the alleged attacker walk free, both women decided to transfer schools.

“They don’t value you as a person because if they did they would be working harder to stop these things from happening,” Russo said.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to Hudson Valley on Wednesday for an interview about the process of reporting a sexual assault on campus, but they were unable to make anyone available to us at this time.

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