The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 4, 2013

Hearing reset in Oklahoma St. sex assault case


Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — Monday’s hearing for a former Oklahoma State University student charged with sexual battery was rescheduled to April 1.

Nathan Cochran, 22, faces four sexual battery charges on accusations he molested or attempted to molest male students while they slept in dorm rooms. Cochran, a former member of the FarmHouse fraternity, has pleaded not guilty in Payne County court and is free on bail.

OSU officials came under fire for not immediately reporting the alleged incidents to authorities, instead opting to handle the complaints through disciplinary boards. Local police say they didn’t learn of the allegations until Dec. 6, when contacted for comment by the campus newspaper.

Amid the fallout last December, OSU President Burns Hargis called for a task force to investigate the university’s handling of the assault allegations.

The task force report recommended five ways the school could better its sexual assault reporting protocol, including requiring every school under its system to promptly notify authorities of any allegations of sexual assault. The Board of Regents that oversees OSU voted Friday to adopt recommendations from the group.

Hargis said last week that the report “created an opportunity for us to have a serious conversation on how best to handle sexual misconduct situations in the future ... we will not tolerate misconduct and will vigorously investigate claims as we follow the revised policies and procedures.”