By Brooke Manuel, Skyline Desk Chief
ALPINE-Three high profile criminal cases over the past month and a half have involved Sul Ross State University athletes, two of which allegedly involve assaults against female students.
In addition to an alleged sexual assault and burglary Sept. 17 by a former male soccer player, for which a Brewster County Grand Jury is considering felony charges, a second violent incident occurred Sept. 24. According to officials and students, a baseball player allegedly slapped and choked a female student in his dormitory room.
“It’s come to our attention that around 5:00 am Saturday, an assault occurred between two students in one of the residential buildings,” the university said in an email to all students and staff. “The alleged suspect is known to University Police and the investigation is ongoing,” the university’s email said.
At the time of publication, no charges have been filed against the SRSU baseball player. Second degree assault charges are under consideration, officials, speaking under conditions of anonymity since the investigation is ongoing, told the Skyline. The student is still allowed on campus, but the former soccer player allegedly involved in the earlier sexual assault has been suspended.
This is the third incident of alleged criminal activity the past six weeks in which an SRSU male athlete was involved.
On Sept. 15, a senior and former SRSU soccer player entered four dormitory rooms in Lobo Village two without permission from the occupants. The perpetrator allegedly fondled a female student and stole several items. According to officials, he has been suspended from school, and felony sexual assault and burglary charges are being considered.
In August, eight former SRSU football players were involved in a shoplifting incident that occurred at the Morrison True Value Hardware store in Alpine. All of the players that were involved in the incident have been suspended from the football team, according to school officials. Chief Darrell R. Losoya of the Alpine Police Department said that three of the perpetrators were issued citations for petty theft and two others were used as witnesses.
Most university officials that the Skyline has reached out to have been unavailable or declined to comment.
Spokesperson, Betse Esparza emphasized, however, that “the athletic department holds their students to a high standard.”
Kent Dunegan, SRSU director of public security, told the Skyline that campus police were “doing as much as we possibly can with what we have,” and said there have been “extra patrols.” He denied that lax security had anything to do with the incidents.
“It’s not because a lack of security that these incidents occurred,” Dunegan said.