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Aug 13, 2013 11:45 AM EDT

USC Sexual Assault Investigation UPDATE: School Labeled Rape an 'Injury Response'

University of Southern California
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Ariella Mostov had previously remained anonymous when she said her school, the University of Southern California (USC), did not pursue her rape case, but that was until the school reportedly labeled it an "injury response," the Huffington Post reported.

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USC is currently under investigation from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for not properly reporting or investigating sexual misconduct cases. Numerous USC students have joined together in the complaint that alleges the school violated the Clery Act, requiring any school to properly report any act of campus crime and violence.

Charles R. Love, OCR program director, originally confirmed the investigation in a letter to lead complainant Tucker Reed. She said school administrators told her that her assailant would be subject to an "educative" process instead of punishment.

Mostov, anonymous at the time, said a USC Department of Public Safety investigator said her assailant did not actually commit rape because he did not orgasm. The investigator then declined to turn the case over to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Mostov told the Huffington Post she recently went to follow up on her complaint, filed March 27, but the Department of Public Safety desk clerk could not find it. When they did locate the report, it was listed not as rape, not as sexual assault, but as an injury response.

USC is "persistently underreporting sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape in the Annual Clery Security Report by ... categorizing instances of 'rape' as 'personal injury,' 'domestic dispute,' and other less serious crimes or non-crimes," the complaint said.

Mostov said she felt as though the school is categorizing her complaint as a lesser crime to lower the crime rates.

"I feel like I was denied justice," Mostov said. "These people who are assigned to protect us and guarantee our safety, who are supposed to help us through these especially hard times, are people who are incredibly incompetent."

USC officials said they have not yet seen a Clery act complaint and declined to comment, but instead pointed to a letter released July 26 from Provost Elizabeth Garrett. The letter stated how USC takes pride in responding diligently to reports of sexual misconduct.

The letter also aimed to set the record straight about what had been reported and what actually happened with the OCR investigation.

"There are not 100 students who have complained to the federal government about the process, as some have claimed," Garrett wrote. "Instead, a student alleged that USC had not responded appropriately in 16 cases; the OCR accepted three of those cases for further investigation."

The letter also said the USC Department of Public Safety did forward those three cases to the LAPD.

"What you may have heard in the news about these cases contained other inaccuracies, including mischaracterization of statements attributed to USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers," the letter said. "We welcome the opportunity to have the OCR review these cases."

If the OCR decides to proceed with the Clery Act investigation, it could mean a fine of $35,000 per violation.

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