Crime

WWU student cited for allegedly exposing himself, assaulting two others on campus

An 18-year-old Western Washington University student was cited by University Police on Friday after he allegedly ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms, became aggressive and assaulted two female students, according to Paul Cocke, a spokesperson for the university.

Around 11 p.m. on Oct. 11, University police responded to a call from the Ridgeway Sigma residence hall. A male student, who was also a resident of the dorm, had taken psilocybin mushrooms, took his pants down and was exposing himself, Cocke said.

Two female students, both age 20, confronted the male student while waiting for police. During the confrontation, the man reached out and tried to pull one of the women “into physical contact with him,” Cocke said. The woman was able to pull herself away.

The male student then grabbed the second woman and touched her inappropriately, Cocke said.

When officers arrived, they found the male student lying on the floor outside of his room, face up and naked from the waist down with his pants around his ankles, Cocke said. The student was unresponsive and paramedics with the Bellingham Fire Department were called.

The student was uncooperative with Bellingham Fire, but they were able to determine that he didn’t need to be taken to the hospital, Cocke said. Officers learned that after ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms, the student “became erratic, out of control and aggressive,” Cocke said.

The student was issued a criminal citation for fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and indecent exposure with sexual motivation, Cocke said. The student was not booked into the Whatcom County Jail.

Cocke said the university doesn’t identify the names of suspects until they’ve been formally charged. Details on whether the student has been formally charged were not immediately available Thursday. Cocke said the university is unaware of any previous criminal history the student has.

The male student has been evicted from the residence hall, and trespassed from campus housing while further university disciplinary actions are pending, Cocke said. He is still allowed to be on campus and attend classes pending the outcome of the student disciplinary process, Cocke said.

A Crime Notice was sent to all WWU students, staff and faculty on Oct. 15, because the alleged assaults fall under the crimes outlined in the Clery Act. The Clery Act requires that universities provide a “timely warning” when a Clery Act crime occurs, but it does not define what “timely” is.

Cocke said WWU provides emergency alerts to the campus community when there is an imminent, active, life-threatening, violent emergency situation. This was not such a situation, but WWU is required to notify the campus community when specific crimes occur on campus, and does so through its crime notices, Cocke said.

Cocke said WWU is providing support to the affected students. Counseling and other support services are available to all WWU students who may have been impacted, he said.

Resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour Help Line: 360-715-1563, Email: info@dvsas.org.

Lummi Victims of Crime: 360-312-2015.

Bellingham Police: You can call anonymously at 360-778-8611, or go online at cob.org/tips.

Western Washington University Police: 360-650-3911 or 911, or anonymously at 360-650-7233.

Western safety tips: Access safety tips and websites. Use Western’s Counseling Center. Contact Western’s sexual assault support services. University public safety assistants, or “Greencoats,” are available to escort students or others on campus during evening hours by calling 360-650-3555.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.
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