SOUTH ORANGE — Police are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a Seton Hall University softball player at an off-campus party last month, authorities said Wednesday.
Capt. Kyle Kroll, of the South Orange Police Department, said the incident occurred in the early hours of Nov. 16, and police believe it was captured on a cell-phone video that has been circulated among students at the Catholic university.
Kroll said the alleged victim reported the assault to police several hours after the incident. She first reported the incident to Seton Hall administrators, who urged her to go to the authorities, university spokesman Dan Kalmanson told NJ.com.
“We informed the student of their rights and encouraged the student to go talk to police,” Kalmanson said. “We also notified authorities ourselves of the alleged incident.”
Kalmanson said the school launched an internal investigation immediately after incident. He declined to discuss specifics of the investigation and said he was unable to provide details of the report.
“The university has completed its investigation,” Kalmanson said. “Under FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), it’s university policy that we don’t comment on an internal investigation.”
Kroll said Wednesday afternoon South Orange police did not have a copy of the video.
NJ.com has obtained a short clip that is purported to be of the incident. It appears to have been shot in low light and lasts 12 seconds. In it, partiers can be heard laughing and cheering in the background as what is presumed to be the alleged assault occurs.
The woman, who appears bent over, is mostly in the dark, and the man in the video is standing behind her, wearing a white T-shirt, pulled up in front, and white baseball cap.
A person with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the man is not a Seton Hall student.
NJ.com is withholding the name of the alleged victim because of the nature of the incident.
Kalmanson confirmed that the alleged victim was a student at Seton Hall, but declined to offer any further details. Several other people with knowledge of the investigation have confirmed to NJ.com that the alleged victim was a member of the softball team; that numerous members of the team were present at the time of the alleged assault; that the police are interviewing various softball players; and that underage drinking was a feature of the party.
Kalmanson said the university had known about the video and had warned those who had attended the party that anyone caught circulating the video would face repercussions.
“The sharing of the video is completely unacceptable and contrary to our Catholic mission and our commitment to fostering a healthy academic and social environment for all students,” he said. “The university has and will continue to address such conduct appropriately.”
Kalmanson declined to say whether any students had been sanctioned for distributing the video.
Kroll said investigators are interviewing witnesses and no charges have been brought.
“We are in the middle of the investigation,” Kroll said.
South Orange Police Capt. Kyle Kroll
The alleged victim’s father declined comment.
According to someone close to the investigation, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has knowledge of the incident. A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office declined comment.
Kalmanson would not say whether the school’s investigation revealed underaged drinking or whether students at the party had been disciplined.
“University policy is not to comment on student disciplinary actions,” he said. “However the university takes the issue of underage drinking very seriously.”