Police investigate possible sexual assault at Rhodes College

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Police Department is working to get to the bottom of a possible sexual assault at Rhodes College.

As students rushed to class Wednesday, many learned of a possible sexual assault on campus.

"Sex assault it pretty harsh. I mean if I -- I would be afraid for sure," one student, who did not want to give her name, told WREG.

Memphis police said it was still early in the investigation.

"You telling me about this. What goes through my mind is, why haven't I heard about this," Karissa Bowley said.

Many students said their first time hearing about the possible assault was Wednesday from WREG.

Police said the possible sexual assault happened in December 2014. Campus security then reported the incident to law enforcement on January 9, 2015.

However, the school admitted that no alert was sent to students, faculty, or the surrounding community.

"And we do get those which is also why I'm kind of -- this is kind of strange," Bowley said.

The school sent the following statement:

The alleged incident was not reported to the college until well after it supposedly occurred. As such, there was no imminent threat to the campus community. We do not alert the campus community unless a threat is substantiated.

A Rhodes College spokesperson told WREG the school only sends alerts about incidents that put the community in danger.

"Per the Clery Act, the college alerts all members of the Rhodes community when timely information is received and an incident may post a threat to members of the community," Ken Woodmansee, director of communications at Rhodes College, wrote in an e-mail.

"It's definitely going to make me more alert and aware of what's happening," an unidentified student said.

MPD couldn't release many details about the open sex crimes investigation. However, officers did tell WREG no victim has come forward.

While Rhodes College didn't alert the community about the incident, a school spokesperson said the college has resources available to any student who is a sexual assault victim.

"In situations when students report a traumatic event, including sexual assault, the college works with the student to consider accessing all support resources – including talking with parents, utilizing counseling, reporting to the Memphis Police Department, and other services that might be beneficial to the student," Woodmansee said.

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