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Citadel dealing with more charges of sex abuse

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials at the Citadel have confirmed that more sexual assault complaints have been reported at the military college.

According to Charlene Gunnels with the Citadel Office of External Affairs,  two cadets reported incidents to Citadel Public Safety officers last week. 

Gunnels says the accused was a 2011 graduate and is no longer at the Citadel.

According to the report from the Citadel's Department of Public Safety, there are two separate complaints filed against the same former cadet, involving a total of four incidents. Both victims claim they were attacked in the suspect's dorm room. Another assault allegedly took place while on a trip to Washington D.C.

The first incident reportedly happened in the Spring of 2010 shortly after Recognition Day. The victim says he was studying with the suspect when unwanted advances, including inappropriate grabbing, were made. When the victim objected, he says the suspect claimed that it, "was normal and okay for guys to touch each other" and that "everyone did it."

The victim also claimed in the report that suspect told him, "it was more okay for guys to be with guys, sexually, before marriage, than to be with girls. And that God would be less angry at two guys messing around than a guy and a girl."

After the incident, the report states the victim (who was a knob at the time) chose not to report the suspect (who was an upperclassman), "due to his perceived position or power at the school, and status within the corps of cadets."

The second incident reportedly happened in early February of 2011. The victim told Citadel Public Safety officers that he was assaulted on three separate occasions by the suspect. In one of the incidents, the victim claims the suspect grabbed his face as if to kiss him and said, "you look like a little panda." When the victim leaned back, "as if he was going to hit" the suspect, the suspect backed off. He also reported the suspect jumped on him while he was sleeping and tried to wrestle with him. A witness called that advance, "extremely odd and clearly sexual."

No one has been arrested as both victims said they did not wish to pursue the case further than filing reports with the school. The Citadel requested all names be withheld from this report, to protect the identities of current cadets.

The Citadel has asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate as required under the Jessica Horton Act.

The Administration sent out a notification to all students and faculty members under the Clery Law. Below is the Clery Act notification that was transmitted Friday via e-mail to the Corps of Cadets:

In compliance with provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990, The Citadel Public Safety Department is giving notice of recently received reports concerning a recent graduate.  These reports allege that, while a cadet, the individual had inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with cadets.  The circumstances of these assaults, which occurred 18 months or more ago, suggest that the assailant used his authority over the victims to get close to them. 

The phenomenon of superior persons exercising their authority over their victims has been widely reported across the country.  Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, however, whether they are a freshman or upperclassman. In addition, men can assault men or women, and women can assault women or men.

In the cases recently reported, the alleged perpetrator is no longer a member of the Corps of Cadets, but could still attempt to contact students.   To protect yourself, take care in selecting the people that you spend free time with.  Use the buddy system while socializing - when you go out with friends, agree to keep an eye on one another and to return to school together. 

The Citadel Public Safety Department urges anyone who believes they or a friend have been the victim of a sexual assault to immediately contact their local law enforcement agency. On-campus, PSAF can be reached at 3-5114.  Victims of any form of sexual assault are encouraged to seek support with the Director, Cadet Advocacy, Response and Education (CARE) at 953-7277, or at the Counseling Center, 953-6799.

These charges come as the school is still dealing with the aftermath of the scandal surrounding former cadet and camp counselor Louis 'Skip' ReVille.

*Sandra Ecklund and Eric Egan contributed to this report.

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