Arrest made in San Diego rape, one of a string near college campus

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2014 4:11 PM

By Michael Fleeman

(Reuters) - A San Diego State University student has been arrested in connection with a sexual assault near campus, marking the first arrest in a string of seemingly unrelated reported rapes that have triggered protests over the school's handling of sexual violence, authorities said on Wednesday.

Francisco Paiva Sousa, a 20-year-old sophomore, was arrested on Tuesday for investigation of forced oral copulation and false imprisonment and booked into the San Diego County jail on $100,000 bond, according to the jail's website.

He was arrested after a woman told police she was forced to have oral sex in a bathroom stall in a private house near campus late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, according to campus police.

"The victim identified the suspect and, after an extensive investigation by detectives, police arrested SDSU student Francisco Paiva Sousa," campus police said in a statement.

Sousa was arrested on the same day as the latest protest over the university's response to sexual assault cases. About two dozen students marched, chanting, "Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape," before temporarily taking over the lobby of university President Elliot Hirshman's office.

A statewide audit in June also criticized San Diego State and three other California public universities for poor training and preparation of its staff to deal with sexual assault issues on campus. Training lapses left staff at risk of mishandling reports of sexual harassment and violence, the report said.

The university has received 13 reports of assault this semester, including one in September at the same house where Sousa is accused of assaulting a woman. No arrests have been made in the earlier case there, nor in any of the other incidents reported to the university.

While the fraternity or sorority system has come under fire along with the university, this weekend's assault took place at a private off-campus house.

Fraternities and sororities last month suspended all social activities until their members undergo sexual assault prevention training after members of two fraternities threw eggs and waved sex toys at demonstrators in a Take Back the Night anti-rape march.

(Reporting by Michael Fleeman in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)