University of Minnesota police said Thursday that the student who reported being raped by armed strangers in her dorm Sunday was “in crisis” and in need of “professional assistance.”
They no longer believe that she was the victim of an armed sexual assault, as originally reported, according to Vice President Pam Wheelock, who oversees the Police Department.
The case sparked a wave of concern across campus after the student, an 18-year-old woman, told police that she was sexually assaulted early Sunday in her dorm room at Sanford Hall by two strangers, one carrying a knife.
In a brief written statement Thursday, university officials said: “After continued University of Minnesota Police Department investigation, the previously reported sexual assault in Sanford Hall early Sunday morning is now being considered a student crisis intervention case.”
Asked whether the student had changed her story, Wheelock declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws. “Our priority right now is on providing the support to this student that she needs,” she said.
On Wednesday, university police said they were no longer investigating the case as an armed sexual assault by strangers. But they have not said what evidence caused them to change their minds.
Wheelock declined to say whether the police now believe that any crime occurred. “It became clear that the important imperative was to help attend to a student who needed additional support,” she said.
In Thursday’s statement, U police reiterated that “there is no immediate or ongoing threat to public safety related to this case.”
They also said that the police and the university’s Aurora Center, a crisis-intervention group for victims of sexual assault, are continuing to work with the student to “provide her this support.”
Katie Eichele, director of the Aurora Center, said she can’t comment on this particular case, but cautioned against making quick judgments without all of the information.
“The victim-survivor is the most important person in all of this, and supporting what it is they’re going through and what they may want in the process.”