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University of Wyoming

Two people walk on the University of Wyoming campus in June 2016. The university is looking for ways to become less dependent on state funding.

There are no updates in the investigation of a stranger who tackled and sexually assaulted a woman as she walked across a War Memorial Stadium parking lot in November, a University of Wyoming spokesman said Tuesday.

The woman — whose age and affiliation to the university, if any, remains unclear — was assaulted on Nov. 10. Few details are publicly available: The victim did not report the assault to university police, UW officials have said. Spokesman Chad Baldwin said Tuesday that an acquaintance of the victim reported the assault to police, who learned of it more than 24 hours later.

Baldwin said that while evidence from the crime has been preserved and the investigation remains open, the victim has not spoken with police and the attacker has not been identified by authorities.

The university leaves the decision of whether to report to police up to the victim in sexual assault cases, Baldwin said. For instance, if the university’s victim advocate is told by a victim that he or she doesn’t want to involve the police, that advocate is “bound to the wishes of the victim.”

“It’s that person’s call, and we honor that,” Baldwin said.

In the wake of the attack, students held at walkout at the university’s main campus in Laramie. They delivered to President Laurie Nichols’ office a petition that called for timelier handling of allegations, notifications of assault that occur off-campus, better lighting and more.

The attack was one of five reports that university police received in 2017, Baldwin said last month. He added that number may not be a total count; other groups across campus may receive reports, and the total figure is compiled.

The other four assaults reported to police last year occurred in university housing, Baldwin said in December.

Data from previous years show an uptick in sexual assault reports. There were 19 reports in in 2016, 14 in 2015 and nine in 2014.

University officials told lawmakers last month that they believe the increase in reports is a result of an increase in awareness, rather than a jump in assaults.

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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