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Nathan Cochran Pleads Guilty To Sexual Battery At OSU, But Won't Face Prison

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Nathan Michael Cochran entered a guilty plea to three counts of sexual battery on Sept. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Payne County Sheriff's Department) | AP

Former Oklahoma State University student Nathan Michael Cochran won't receive a prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual battery on Friday.

The Oklahoman explained that the lack of prison time was due to a plea deal:

As part of a plea agreement in Payne County District Court, Cochran received seven years of probation and was ordered to complete a six-month inpatient counseling program managed by the Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa. Cochran also was ordered to register as a sex offender.

The 22-year-old had faced up to 10 years in prison for each count, the Associated Press reports. He was originally charged with four counts, but one was dismissed Friday.

Payne County Assistant District Attorney Lynn Hermanson told the court that all of the victims approved of the plea deal.

OSU began investigating Cochran's actions in mid-November and found him responsible for four sexual misconduct violations on Nov. 30, 2012. The school decided to suspend him for three years. But neither city police nor the university community knew of the assaults until a Daily O’Collegian reporter began following up on an anonymous tip in early December.

OSU officials claimed the Family and Education Rights Privacy Act prevented them from telling police about the allegations against Cochran, though an official with the U.S. Department of Education disagreed. A task force that reviewed the school's handling of the case found the university was "misguided" in waiting nearly a month to alert police about Cochran's crimes and "misinterpreted" federal privacy laws.

Cochran was a member of the FarmHouse fraternity and served as secretary of the Interfraternity Council. He was accused of fondling and performing oral sex on other male students while they slept between November 2011 and August 2012.

Earlier on HuffPost:

Schools Investigating Or Reviewing Policies On Sexual Assault
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