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Three rapes reported in proximity to Cal Poly 

Three Cal Poly women were reportedly raped in the last two weeks.

On May 7, a student reported she was raped at the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at 280 California Blvd., according to campus police reports. Police say the woman reported she was raped during or following a fraternity social function. Cal Poly student Joseph Trupiano, 23, turned himself in to San Luis Obispo police in connection with the incident, a SLO police report said. He was released on $100,000 bail.

On May 12, a woman was reportedly raped in her room at Cal Poly Village, a student-housing complex, according to Cal Poly police reports. A suspect has been identified, but had not been arrested as of press time.

Another woman reported that she was raped in her room, also at Cal Poly Village, on May 15, according to police reports. Again, a suspect has been identified, but had not been arrested as of press time.

In each of the crime alerts sent out to students by Cal Poly, the women were reported to be “intoxicated and unconscious when the incidents occurred,” a detail that police said they were obligated to reveal because federal law requires them to give details of sexual assault incidents.

The incidents have shocked the Cal Poly community and brought up some unpleasant questions. Is it unusual for three rapes to occur in less than a week and a half, or is it unusual that three rapes are reported to the police?

Cal Poly Campus Police Chief William Watton said he’s also been asking himself that question.

“We know it happens more than gets reported,” Watton said. “How often it happens [and isn’t reported] we don’t know, and it would be total speculation for me to guess.”

He said his department’s goal is to get students who are sexually assaulted to file a report so every sexual assault can be prosecuted.

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong released a statement after the second incident calling for a task force “comprised of representatives from all constituencies whose charge is to examine how we can create a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault, that never blames the victims of sexual assault, and that works to minimize alcohol and drug abuse.”


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