Tahlequah Daily Press

December 12, 2012

Sexual assaults link Tahlequah, OSU

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah police detectives are assisting in the investigation of a series of sexual assaults allegedly committed by an Oklahoma State University student who has strong ties to the Cherokee County area.

Tahlequah Detective Thomas Donnell was notified of the Stillwater Police Department’s investigation Monday evening.

Police in Stillwater began looking into the alleged sexual assaults against “young men” after an anonymous email was sent to OSU’s newspaper. That email alleges an OSU student is responsible for a number of assaults on members of the FarmHouse fraternity, according to The Daily O’Collegian, though police have since said that several alleged victims did not belong to the fraternity.

The Oklahoman, The Daily O’Collegian and other media entities on Tuesday reported that OSU officials released information showing they had suspended Nathan Cochran, 22, for three years beginning at the end of the current semester, which winds down Friday.

Cochran has not been arrested and has not been charged with a crime.

OSU officials said a student-conduct committee found Cochran to be responsible for four violations of the sexual-misconduct section of OSU’s Student Code of Conduct. He was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victims.

According to a report by The Oklahoman, victims have told Stillwater investigators that unwanted touching, oral sex and rape were part of the alleged assaults, which apparently occurred in Tahlequah and in Stillwater, including on the OSU campus.

A spokesman for the FarmHouse fraternity has said Cochran is no longer affiliated with the organization. Police say the alleged incidents were not cases of hazing and do not appear to be involved with any fraternity event.

“During the course of their investigation, [Stillwater police] found out one alleged assault took place in Tahlequah,” Brad Robertson, Tahlequah Police Department’s public information officer, said Tuesday.

“Apparently [one victim], an OSU student, came home for a holiday break and brought another student with him to Tahlequah. While the two were here, there was an alleged assault.”

Robertson said the local victim has not contacted Tahlequah police about the incident, and is now believed to be back in Stillwater.

According to The Daily O’Collegian, Stillwater police said Tuesday there could be “dozens” more victims in that city or in Tahlequah.

Anyone with knowledge of the alleged assaults is asked to contact authorities. Donnell can be contacted at (918) 456-8801.

Donnell will work with Stillwater investigators as the case unfolds and expects to receive a packet of information from officers in that city.