Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at Reed

Reporting to the Police

Quick Facts

  • A student may report a sexual assault to the police immediately, or at any time in the future
  • A student may report a sexual assault to police directly, or by requesting assistance from community safety or other Reed staff.  For emergency reports or immediately after an assault, a student may call 911.  For reports of assaults that days or longer before the report, students should call the Portland Police Bureau non-emergency line at 503/823-3333.
  • Police do not routinely notify the College of sexual assault reports.  We encourage students wishing to engage Reed College services and resource to contact the HCC and/or a College official
  • Reporting to the police does not routinely obligate the student to pursue criminal charges or appear in court if the student decides not to pursue the case at a later date.  In rare cases where there is a significant community risk, a court may issue a subpoena to compel a student to testify, but this is a rare exception
  • Reporting to the police does not prevent the student from reporting to the College or from pursuing an honor case through the College judicial board, immediately or in the future

Discussion

A student who has survived a sexual assault always has the option of reporting the incident to police, either directly by calling 911, or by requesting the assistance of Reed staff—typically community safety.  While certain kinds of evidence degrade rapidly over time, a sexual assault report may be made immediately, or at any time in the future.

When a student reports a sexual assault to the police, a uniformed officer will be dispatched to meet the student.  The meeting may be at the location of the incident, at a medical facility, at another safe place of the student’s choosing, or at a police facility.  The police officer will interview the student and any available witnesses, collect evidence, provide resource and support information, and provide a police report number to the reporting student.  Initially, if the meeting is not at a medical facility, but the student subsequently decides to have a medical examination, the police officer will meet the student at the medical facility to complete the interview and collect any evidence gathered.

After conducting the initial interview described above, the police officer will forward his/her report to the sex crime division of the Portland Police Bureau where it will be reviewed by the Detective Sergeant who supervises the unit, and the case will be assigned to a sex crime detective for follow up.  A sex crime detective will contact the reporting student to review the report, discuss investigative options, and determine whether or not the student wishes to pursue criminal charges.  The sex crime detective, in conjunction with the district attorney’s office and the reporting student, will determine whether or not to ultimately pursue criminal charges.

The District Attorney’s office and/or the Grand Jury ultimately decide whether or not an investigation presents sufficient evidence to move forward with criminal prosecution.  While the District Attorney’s office may unilaterally decline to prosecute a case, it is extremely unlikely that a case will move forward without the consent and participation of the student who lodged the initial complaint.

If a student decides not to pursue criminal charges after having made an initial report, the student may request that the investigation be re-opened in the future.  In these cases it will be up to the police detective to re-evaluate the case for possible investigation.  Depending on the length of time that has elapsed, the statute of limitations for a specific crime may have expired, effectively barring prosecution.  For most sex offenses the statute of limitations in several years.