Oklahoma State University police released the name and personal information of a woman who reported she was the victim of a secret sex tape, while redacting the identities of the suspect and a witness.
A 19-year-old student at OSU filed a report with campus police on Jan. 19, alleging her ex-boyfriend videotaped them having sex without her knowledge, according to the Daily O'Collegian.
OSU spokesman Gary Shutt told the O'Collegian "suspect names are always withheld while the case is under investigation," but the victim's name is public record because it's not a sexual assault or other crime under the Clery Act. Experts disagreed:
Frank LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said Friday that police could have redacted the victim’s name.
“I think that, until an arrest is made, police have the discretion under Oklahoma law to withhold any name in a police report,” he said. “Once an arrest is made, then the law entitles you to the name of the person arrested.”
Joey Senat, an associate professor in the OSU School of Media and Strategic Communications and the author of “Mass Communication Law in Oklahoma,” questioned OSU’s interpretation of the Clery and Open Records acts. He said Friday that the Clery Act supersedes the Open Records Act in this case.
The controversial decision to release a potential victim's name is the latest event critics have noted when questioning how OSU's administration handles sex crimes. It took nearly a month for officials to inform police that a single student was accused of assaulting several students on and off campus. An official from the U.S. Department of Education suggested the university had misinterpreted a portion of federal privacy laws, according to the Associated Press.
Seven students were also found responsible for sexual misconduct in recent years. None of them were expelled.
State Sen. Tom Ivester (D-Elk City) recently proposed a law to require any employee of any public college in the state to notify police in the area when he or she learns of a sexual assault or violent crime involving a student, the Oklahoman reports. However, Ivester said his legislation has more to do with preventing a Sandusky-type scandal than recent OSU failures.