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No formal reports related to online allegations of sex assaults at Western: police

LONDON, Ont. — Police in London, Ont., say they have received no formal reports related to online allegations of drugging and sexual assaults at a Western University residence, but will keep the investigation open.

Online allegations of sexual assaults at the school's Medway-Sydenham Hall during orientation week circulated on social media last month, prompting investigations by police and the university.

Police say officers went to the residence mid-September to speak with students, while Western residence staff were given information to support students and guide anyone seeking to make a report.

They say those combined efforts led to "direct contact" with more than 600 students.

The force says it has not been able to substantiate the online allegations given the lack of formal complaints.

But police say they understand there is no universal response to sexual violence and those who experience it are not obligated to participate in an investigation.

"Likewise, we know that, for a variety of well-documented reasons, incidents of sexual violence are generally underreported, and that victims and survivors who were initially reluctant to report may decide to come forward with their disclosure at a later date," the force said in a statement.

"With this in mind, our investigation into allegations of incidents of sexual violence at Medway-Sydenham Hall remains open."

Police have said they received four complaints of on-campus sexual assaults at Western before the online allegations emerged. 

The university has said it removed students from residence and was "facilitating arrest'' in connection with those four incidents. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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