Investigation stalls pending victim report

An 18-year-old woman visiting from Boston University who was allegedly sexually assaulted Sunday in Gamma Delta Chi fraternity has not yet made a detailed report to the Hanover Police.

“We haven’t heard anything from the victim,” Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone said, “so we aren’t investigating.”

According to Giaccone, a victim must make a detailed follow-up to a detective after the initial statement in order for the investigation to continue. Otherwise, “we don’t have sufficient detail,” he said.

Victims give more detailed reports in about half of all cases, Giaccone said, but even then, going to trial can be difficult for the victim.

“If we don’t have the commitment of the victim up front, we probably won’t have it later on,” he added. “We have to have commitment from the victims in order to devote our resources to an investigation that is usually quite complex.”

While a “rape kit” — information from the hospital including possible data on fluid transfers from a sexual assault — was created for this case, Giaccone said, it would likely prove useless in such a instance.

In many sexual assaults, he said, “people with good intentions force people to do things they are uncomfortable with,” leading to “he-said, she-said” confrontations.

Many times in trials, he said, “even if a person is arrested and goes on trial, its the victim who’s on trial,” since the defendant does not have to testify and the victim must to obtain a conviction.

As a result, Giaccone said the Hanover Police does not pressure victims to testify “unless it’s a clear case that the suspect is a sexual predator — and the info we have gleaned so far indicates that the suspect is not.”

New Hampshire law does not compel victims to testify in rape or sexual assault cases, even if they seek treatment in a hospital.

In November, Hanover Police detectives interviewed 50 people and spent over 100 hours investigating a sexual assault at The Tabard coed fraternity, though that case has been put aside since the victim does not wish to continue with the investigation.

That case “set us back about three months and put other things on hold” in the detective division, Giaccone explained.

Safety and Security posted a crime alert on Monday afternoon regarding the incident, describing the perpetrator as a white, College-age male with dark hair.

Representatives of Safety and Security could not be reached for comment.

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