Sex act or sex crime? Viral video has college community soul searching and cops investigating

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (PIX11) — It may have recorded a sex crime, and now a video that’s gone viral among a group of Seton Hall University students is sparking soul searching in the community, while police look into the case.

“A lot of people are outraged by it,” said Frangely Rodriguez, a Seton Hall sophomore, about on-campus discussions of the video and its effects.

“Some people think it wasn’t a mistake, that she chose to do [a public sex act].  Some people think that it was [non-]consensual, so it’s a big debate,” Rodriguez said about the 12-second video being passed around by some students, and talked about by far more.

The video, according to NJ.com is of  what appears to be a Seton Hall softball player bent over, while a man, who’s apparently not a student, engages in a sex act with her.

It happened at a party off-campus last month, and in the video, people can be heard cheering and laughing while the sex act takes place.

“It’s not her fault for being sexually assaulted,” another sophomore, who would not give her name, said.  “But if her and her friends did nothing to stop it, then I can’t really say nothing about that.”

However, plenty of students at the university and in its neighboring community have much to say.  They’re wondering if this is a case like the one in Steubenville, Ohio last year, in which two high school football players were convicted of raping a teenage girl at a party, and posting pictures online.

Steubenville high schooler Trenton Mays received a two-year juvenile prison sentence, and fellow student Ma’lik Richmond got a one-year sentence.

Contrast that with another case two months ago in Athens, Ohio, where a public sex act at the University of Ohio was captured on video and posted online, where it, too, went viral.  Nobody has been arrested, and there’s no solid proof that it was non-consensual sex.

As for the Seton Hall case, “It’s kind of sad if her friends were there, and they didn’t stop it and they let it happen,” said Rodriguez, the Seton Hall sophomore.  “I honestly feel bad for the girl.”

The young woman seen in the video told university officials about the November 16th incident.  Seton Hall opened its own investigation, and directed her to South Orange police because the incident occurred off-campus.

The ongoing police investigation includes interviews with people who were at the party with the young woman.  The South Orange Police Department has said it has not seen a copy of the video.

Whether or not the sex act captured in the video file was consensual, the university, which has closed its investigation, is frowning on the images being passed around.

“The recording or sharing of images of the alleged incident,” the university said in a statement, “is completely unacceptable and contrary to Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and commitment to fostering an academic and social environment where all students are respected.”

In any case, the whole situation is causing many of Seton Hall’s 5,200 students to take stock.

“I’m a junior,” said student Shelby Hall.  “I’ve never heard anything about anything like that going on within the last three years.  “I’m a little surprised, but it’s college.  …I guess we’re not immune because we’re a Catholic school.”

S.A.V.E., Essex County’s rape crisis center, told PIX11 News that it has handled numerous cases of Seton Hall students being sexually abused, but that it could not comment about this specific case due to confidentiality restrictions.

The Essex County prosecutor’s office is the lead investigator in the case.  It is not making comment.

1 Comment

  • DISGRACFULATHLETES

    It is pathetic that this college has gone to such great lengths to protect the guilty and ignore the innocent. When you have a spokesperson who states that the "in-house" investigation is concluded, while the police are just getting started should be looking for another job!

    The "internal investigation" has been concluded. So, what we will try and re-direct this one by condemning those who, in a social media world, have distributed a Video…shot in public…of a softball player fornicated, (in public) taking it from the rear while holding herself steady against a wall, while her team mates cheer her on!!!!!~ Why so much attention to the video being distributed? This was not some spy-cam like the Rutgers case. This person is in a sexual position that required complete consent and who had allegedly dated this guy!

    The biggest disgrace are the players who witnessed this and who were at a players apartment drinking, where many were underage. That alone is reason for dismissal according to NCAA compliance regulations. Any athlete even remotely associated with this event needs to go and i am not suggesting a few games suspension here. I am talking gone from the college as well as the team! They are a disgrace to every athlete in this country as well as to their fellow student and alumni.

    The biggest shame of all is when this society does its best to protect the guilty, hide the truth, and ignore the accomplices. By doing this we hurt the young ladies who are true student/athletes and represent their college with pride and respect! That was what it used to be about anyway! If Seton Hall really practiced Christian values, they would publicly post an apology to all of the players who are sure to get lumped in with this trashy bunch. The real student/athletes should be quickly exonerated.

    Maybe the parents of these girls who have disgraced themselves as well as their families, might have some humiliation and dignity left and keep them home next semester. Never to return.

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