Two Sexual Assault Cases Reported within Blocks of MU

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police are investigating two reported sexual assaults cases that happened Saturday within blocks of Marshall University.

One of the victims, confirmed to be student, was not assaulted on campus.

CONTACT of Huntington has a rape crisis hotline to help the victims of sexual assault.

"Someone will answer that phone 24/7," said Sharon Pressman, director of CONTACT of Huntington. "Our numbers are up a bit. People need to realize there are advocates to help."

Huntington Police says the two cases are not related. The only similarity is they happened a few blocks from one another.

Both cases were reported to the Huntington Police Department, but CONTACT says it's important to stress there are many victims who
don't report.

Science and technology are changing and helping to prosecute sexual assault offenders.

"It's very difficult to get a a conviction for sexual violence without forensic evidence," Pressman says. "The victim expects when they have a sexual assault kit, that evidence is going to be available with them in a few days. It takes several months, sometimes as much as eight months for forensic evidence to be processed. There's a backlog at the state level."

Huntington Police say these two cases call attention to personal safety.

"If you're out with a bunch of friends, stay with a bunch of friends," Officer Rod Pell said. "The likelihood of any type of incident occurring when you're by yourself is heightened because criminals act on opportunity."

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