Students cautioned after assault occurs on track this summer

On July 8, St. Edward’s University students received an email from the SEU Alert team after an assault occurred on track that surrounds the Lewis-Chen Family Field.

According to University Police Department Captain Dan Beck, the victim was running around the track when she saw a man walk out of the trees by the tennis courts near the southwest corner of the track. She stopped and asked him if he needed help. The man then reached out and placed his hands on the runner’s shoulders. The runner screamed and ran to two other runners, who are both St. Edward’s students, on the other side of the track where the three of them called UPD to report the incident.

Under Sec. 22.01 Subsection (3) of the Texas Penal Code, an assault has been committed when a person “intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”. This definition of assault is considered a Class C misdemeanor.

According to Beck, UPD officers searched the north side of campus and all the way to Twin Oaks shopping center, but did not find the perpetrator that matched the victim’s description.

University police then checked with the Austin Police Department to see if they had any similar reports that night. According to Beck, they had not.

The victim and the two witnesses were interviewed that night as well as the next day. The perpetrator is still unknown, and the investigation is still at a standstill.

“It’s still an open case but we’re not actively looking because we have nothing to go on right now,” Beck said.

According to Beck, this type of crime is not common at St. Edward’s. However, Beck also said that this probably was not the first time something of this sort has happened on campus.

“On the face of it, it didn’t warrant anything. It didn’t even warrant the police search we did,” Beck said.

The police report is not public because, as a private university, St. Edward’s is immune to the Texas Public Information Act. UPD is not required to email or notify students of police reports. According to Beck, UPD decided to air on the side of caution and email students as a safety measure.

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