After court action Sept. 28, a UNK freshman is accused of sexually assaulting a female student on Sept. 19 in her dorm room in Mantor Hall.
Anderson Garcia, 17, of Kearney is charged as an adult in Buffalo County Court with one count of felony first-degree sexual assault.
According to court records, Garcia, a pre-med major, lives in Conrad Hall.
Brandon Benitz, assistant to the dean of student affairs, said he could not comment on Garcia’s enrollment status, because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), but the alleged violations will be handled according to the UNK Student Code of Conduct.
The incident is alleged to have happened Sept. 19. On Sept. 22, the woman reported to a UNK Public Safety officer that a man she knew as Garcia attempted to force her to have sex with him.
Michelle Hamaker, director of police and parking services, said a Public Safety officer interviewed and arrested Garcia on the Buffalo County Warrant without incident at 3:40 p.m. Sept. 27 at 2615 11th Ave.
State law says it is illegal to have sex with someone without the person’s consent.
On Sept. 28 Garcia appeared before Judge Graten Beavers where he was informed of the charge against him.
He was released from Buffalo County Jail on Sept. 29 after posting 10 percent of $10,000, or $1,000.
Garcia is scheduled to appear in court this month for a preliminary hearing. He could ask to have his case transferred to juvenile court because of his age.
Garcia faces one to 50 years in prison if he is convicted and isn’t placed on probation.
Hamaker says an alert was sent to UNK students on Sept. 24 as a timely warning.
“Immediate notification goes more with something that is happening right now, and people need to be aware so they can take safety measures to protect themselves,” Hamaker said. “The timely warning is more so people are aware that a crime occurred on campus, and they can take safety measures.”
Hamaker says the alerts also serve as a chance to send out safety tips and educate the campus on what happened with a particular crime and possibly refer them to resources.
“A lot of people think of rape or sexual assault as that person who jumps out of the bush, and unfortunately, acquaintance rape is going to occur more often,” Hamaker said.
Hamaker said the alerts also serve as a way to educate people on what sexual assault really means and refer them to a website where they can go to get resources.
“Statistically sexual assault is one of those crimes that are underreported,” Hamaker said. “Victims sometimes do not come forward, so it’s a chance for us to let people know where they can get help.”
Hamaker says the university encourages individuals to report the incidents, and the reason is two-fold.
“It’s a chance for individuals to get referred to services and help them through the situation,” Hamaker said. “It can be a very traumatic event for them, so we want to make sure they get the medical attention and counseling they need.”
Hamaker said it’s likely if that if an individual gets away with sexual assault, they could do it again to another person.
“We like to have that information, so if we can stop this from happening in the future we can do that,” Hamaker said.