Scott Young, News Editor
Nine people have been charged with second-degree rape in connection with the six alleged statutory rapes reported to have occurred in or around the campus of Jacksonville State University.
“The investigation led me to the campus of JSU and arrests have been made in the case,” said Jay Harrington, an investigator with the Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crime Units, to CBS 42. “There have been 12 warrants issued and nine arrests made as of now.”
The men involved range from the ages of 18 to 22 and are from cities such as Anniston, Jacksonville, Guntersville and Centre. Investigators have said that these men were involved in numerous instances of sex acts with two girls between the ages of 12 and 16.
One Jacksonville man was charged with second-degree sodomy and is the only person charged in connection to the second victim mentioned.
The JSU crime log records six incidents reported between January 1, 2019 and September 3, 2019 that reportedly occurred at Rowe Hall, Meehan Hall, Sparkman Hall, Dixon Hall and on Mountain Street.
In the state of Alabama, a person has committed rape in the second-degree if “being 16 years or older, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 and more than 12 years old, provided, however, the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex.”
The offense carries potential penalties of between two and 20 years in prison, and a fine of as much as $30,000.
On Sept. 12, JSU sent an email to the student body informing students of possible criminal misconduct that involved non-students entering campus and “communicating with JSU students by electronic means.” Further, the email urged students to “be cautious and circumspect, especially when using social media as a means of communication.”
Sam Monk, JSU’s general counsel, confirmed that the suspects were given notice of their arrest and released on bond.
“I can say, without hesitation, there has never been any indication that there is any risk to students,” said Monk.
JSU released the following statement in response to the investigation:
“We are aware of an ongoing investigation by another agency. The university police is assisting with the investigation. The university is fully cooperating. No more statements will be made at this time due to privacy laws. There is no risk to our students. The investigation is ongoing.”
(UPDATE: 3:16 p.m. CST, Investigator Jay Harrington of the Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crimes Unit informed the Chanticleer that there are still three outstanding warrants to be served. Harrington said that the first victim made the initial report promoting an investigation and that throughout the investigation he developed a second victim. He further stated that he is limited in the information he can provide to the public but that he is working to “unmuddy the waters.”)
Photo courtesy of Grace Cockrell/JSU