Criminal Justice

College's online system for reporting sexual assaults swamped with bogus reports


What looks like a sloppily crafted call to arms on the Reddit online social news website led to the online system for reporting sexual assaults being swamped with phony reports at Occidental College in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Occidental has been in the national spotlight recently after more than 50 students and faculty signed onto complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that the school discourages women from reporting assaults.

In 2009, the school had created an anonymous online reporting system for reporting assaults so that if they reportedly occurred on or near campus, the information could be provided to federal authorities for compilations of crime statistics and to track patterns. The reports do not lead to formal investigations.

On Reddit, that system was cast this way in a post on Tuesday in its Men’s Rights group: “Feminists at Occidental College created an online form to anonymously report rape/sexual assault. You just fill out a form and the person is called into the office on a rape charge. The ‘victim’ never has to prove anything or reveal their identity.”

Then Occidental’s system received 400 anonymous reports in just 36 hours. Officials are trying to sort out legitimate ones.

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