Two COC Students Arrested For Separate Rape Incidents

by Mauricio La Plante 0

Two College of the Canyons students were arrested and accused of rape in separate incidents, officials with the Special Victims Bureau of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station confirmed.

Brady John Wood, 20, of Saugus, was arrested on one count of rape by intoxication Monday, according to Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Hudson. College of the Canyons Vice President of Public Information Eric Harnish confirmed a student matching that name was enrolled for the fall 2017 semester.

“We started that investigation at the beginning of June,” Hudson said of the arrest. “He turned himself into the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station.”

Investigators filed a criminal complaint against Wood on Aug. 17, for one count of rape by use of drugs.

Officials believe the alleged assault took place at a residence, but could not confirm whether or not it was the suspect’s.

“The complaint includes an allegation that the defendant administered Ambien when he committed the offense,” Los Angeles County District Attorney spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.

According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrest logs, Wood was booked Monday, at approximately 7:45 p.m. and released after posting a bond in lieu of $100,000 bail.

The second suspect, 18-year-old Azohn Davis of Lancaster, was arrested for rape by force or fear, an assault that allegedly took place on COC’s Valencia campus.

“Yeah evidently they had already made arrangements with his counsel to turn himself in,” said Hudson. “He bonded out shortly thereafter.”

Davis bonded out of jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to arrest logs.

The alleged assault Davis is suspected of committing occurred on Aug. 2 at 10:45 a.m. and was reported to the sheriff’s department more than 24 hours after the initial report to Campus Safety at COC, Hudson confirmed.

The incident was reported the morning of Aug. 2 to staff at the school’s Student Health and Wellness Center, who then passed the information to Campus Safety officials.

The information was reported to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Thursday evening.

Davis is listed as a College of the Canyons Football recruit on an online Hudl profile.

Michael Wilding, the school’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, stated the following in a campus-wide email sent on Aug. 2:

“It has come to our attention that earlier today a male student allegedly coerced or forced a female student into a sexual act against her will. The College of the Canyons Campus Safety Department is issuing this warning to make you aware of the incident and to better enable you to protect yourself while it continues to investigate this incident.”

As officials investigate the reported sexual assault they urge victims and witnesses to take appropriate precautions as the case progresses, so an arrest can be made.

“We want to make sure students are okay physically as well as emotionally,” Larry Schallert, COC’s assistant director of the Student Health and Wellness Center said. “We do encourage them to get medical attention … (and) to preserve any physical evidence, that’s helpful.”

Faculty at the Student Health and Wellness Center  provide emotional support for survivors of sexual assault while connecting them with proper resources.

Schallert noted that reporting an incident such as rape can be very emotionally taxing and advised using much discretion and significant thought in determining how to do so.

“Things don’t always work out the way they hope it would,” said Schallert

Harnish said the campus offers resources and encourages victims of sexual abuse to notify local authorities or someone they feel comfortable in confiding in.

“We’re committed to protecting our students,” the spokesman said. “We have the plan and procedures in place to see that students receive the resources they need in the event of something like this.”

“It helps to let them see what their choices are, what their options are,” said Schallert, mentioning that low conviction rates for assailants can also lead to trauma. “For instance if the alleged assailant is not convicted and the alleged assailant is still around … then that can really emotionally affect somebody.

“Most of the people I work with do report at some point, but most don’t report it right away,” he said. “And the odds of conviction go up if you report right away.”

Below are a list of facts and resources for reporting and preventing sexual assault:

Date rape facts, guidelines, local resources, courtesy of Strength United’s Project DATE:

  • Eighty-five percent of rapes that occur on college campuses are committed by someone with whom the victim is acquainted.
  • Fifty percent of rapes of college women are committed on dates.
  • Twenty-five percent of all college women report experiencing acquaintance rape or attempted rape.
  • Ninety-five percent of all rapes occur when the rapist, victim or both are under the influence of alcohol.
  • Rape is an act of violence.
  • Of those cases that are reported, women ranging in age from 18 to 24 are at greatest risk of being raped.

Guidelines for women

  • Avoid the use of alcohol and other drugs. Be aware that some men may use alcohol as a means of coercing you to do things you may not want to do, and alcohol may enhance aggressive tendencies in males.
  • Pay attention to what is happening around you. Watch for nonverbal cues.
  • Trust your intuition. If you feel that you are being pressured in any way, you probably are and you should leave the situation.
  • Be assertive. Sometimes men interpret not responding as permission. Be direct and firm with someone who is sexually pressuring you.
  • Communicate your limits clearly and early. If you mean no, say “NO” firmly. If he persists, then leave.
  • Know your sexual desire limits. You have the right to set limits. If you are not sure what you want, it’s ok to stop and think about it.

Guidelines for men

  • Avoid the use of alcohol and other drugs. Even if you are drunk, you are legally accountable for your behavior by the state law.
  • It is your responsibility to know all of the forms of sexual misconduct. Touching can be a form of sexual assault.
  • Be aware of social pressures. It’s ok not to “score.”
  • Understand that the other person may not share your desire for intimate contact or for sex.
  • Don’t assume that previous sexual contact applies to the current situation.
  • If you’re unsure about your partner’s desires, then ask.
  • Don’t assume that just because a woman dresses in a sexy manner she wants to have intimate contact.
  • Remember that no means no.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, facts provided courtesy of the Student Health and Wellness Center, College of the Canyons.

While this may be the last thing on your mind, preserving any physical evidence will help with your case. Even if you’re not sure if you’re going to follow through on a report the assault to the police, it’s a good idea to observe the following guidelines until you decide:

  • It’s important that you do not take a shower or a bath.
  • If you did take a shower or bath, be sure to save the towel you used afterwards.
  • Try not to eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, or take in anything by mouth.
  • If possible, don’t urinate or use the restroom.
  • If you’ve changed your clothes, take all of the clothes you were wearing during the assault and
  • put them in a brown paper bag.
  • Don’t douche.
  • If you’re on your period, keep the tampon or pad.
  • If a condom was used and you can safely acquire it, save the condom.
  • If it was a stranger assault, make a mental note of any items (such as furniture, the steering
  • wheel, or a glass) the perpetrator may have touched.
  • Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages or use any drugs after the assault.
  • If you are intoxicated and can’t remember the assault, save any drinks you consumed that the
  • perpetrator had access to.
  • For now, limit your conversation with friends and relatives about the assault.
  • Don’t have any intimate relations until after the sexual assault exam.
  • If you go to the emergency room, the exam should just be visual unless there is an immediate
  • need for medical attention.
  • If you choose to report the assault, report as soon as possible. Just call 911 or your local police
  • department, and they will guide you from there.
  • The police may decide that a medical exam is needed to collect evidence. If so, they will call
  • the Sexual Assault Emergency Response Team (SART) and drive you to a specially equipped hospital. You won’t be going through this alone. When you get to the hospital, your advocate from the local rape crisis center will be waiting for you as well as a sexual assault nurse examiner.
  • If law enforcement requests the exam, California law states that you can’t be billed for it.
  • If you’re not sure about reporting, we have provided some reasons to report to help you make
  • an informed decision. We also invite you to call our 24HR Hotline at (818) 886-0453 or (661) 253-0258. Whatever you decide is okay with us.
  • It’s important to make sure that you are okay; this means medical attention is needed. Places you can go include your family physician, Planned Parenthood, or a local family planning clinic. Note that all medical providers are mandated reporters and will call law enforcement if they have knowledge of or suspect sexual assault.
  • It is a good idea to talk to a professional counselor to begin the healing process. You have bravely survived a trauma. Many trauma survivors experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Without treatment, survivors often find themselves feeling depressed, anxious, or self- destructive. Counseling can help alleviate these symptoms and keep other ones from coming.
For more information on Strength United, click here. For more information on the Student Health and Wellness click here.

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