sexual assault

Casper Police Department

A Casper Police Department (CPD) survey is aiming to better understand what the sexual violence atmosphere looks like at its local establishments, such as bars or restaurants.

TENNESSEE WATSON

Last spring, Sequel Youth and Family Services, a national organization that runs facilities for youth with emotional and behavioral problems, gained attention when a young man named Cornelius Frederick was killed by staff at one of their facilities in Michigan. This week, an APM Reports investigation revealed a pattern of abuse and harm at juvenile treatment centers run by the organization.

In the last two years, eight of Sequel's facilities have been shut down, six of which were under pressure from or amid investigations by various government agencies across the country. Currently, its facilities in Alabama are under investigation, and Ohio is in the process of revoking its facility's license. Normative Services Institute (NSI), a private juvenile facility in Sheridan, Wyoming, is run by the same organization.


Dhtrible at the English language Wikipedia via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license


It's been a month of turmoil for the Jackson Police Department. Two officers resigned in mid-August after a post about a sexual assault investigation on the department's Facebook page drew community outrage.

Just after that, an investigation by the Jackson Hole News and Guide uncovered another incident that raises questions about the culture of the department. Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher spoke with the News and Guide's investigative and justice reporter Emily Mieure about what she found.

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Update 8/21/20 5:00 p.m.: According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, the officer who wrote the blotter has resigned from the Jackson police. 

Last week, a post on the Jackson Police Department's Facebook page drew outrage, including from advocates for victims of sexual assault.

The post on the department's Facebook blotter made light of an investigation of an alleged sexual assault of a minor. The department's Facebook blotter usually uses humor to share police matters with the public. But this time much of the public felt it went too far.

Nationally, the domestic abuse hotline has seen an uptick in calls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and that trend is reflected across the Mountain West.

In Idaho, for example, the Women and Children's Alliance saw a 194% increase in calls to its domestic violence hotline in April, according to the group's communications director, Chris Davis.

Mussi Katz via Flickr.com

Summer is almost here and for those living with domestic violence, this could be a reason to worry. Studies suggest that as the weather gets warmer, domestic violence rates tend to increase.

A lawsuit alleging the Albany County Sheriff's Department violated a sexual assault victim's civil rights will move forward, according to a federal judge's ruling Tuesday, May 12.

freestocks.org via Public Domain

Domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy groups are still providing services around the state, but they've had to adjust how individuals can get help. Many victims have been stuck inside the house with their abuser, unable to find the privacy to reach out to friends, family, or crisis hotlines. 

Chris Clogg, Public Domain


For many of us, being asked to stay home during the pandemic is inconvenient. For others, it is down right dangerous. Wyoming Public Radio's Megan Feighery spoke with Sydney Allred, executive director of the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, who says social distancing is putting those already living with domestic violence at greater risk.

This story includes descriptions of sexual assault.

This week the Casper Star-Tribune broke a story about a lawsuit against the Albany County Sheriff's Office, over the alleged mishandling of a sexual assault investigation. Wyoming Public Radio has an interview with the plaintiff, as well as audio of the law enforcement interview at the heart of the complaint.


The Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is asking for the community's help to build a new shelter.

StoryCorps

When StoryCorps came to Jackson last summer, Sarah Ross sat down with her mother, Alexandra Fuller, to discuss an article she wrote in the Jackson paper about her teenage experience with sexual assault.

Melodie Edwards

This is the first in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Education Reporter Tennessee Watson's follow up, click here.

Renee and her husband bought a home just outside Guernsey with plans to raise a family there. (We're not using their real names to protect children's identities.)

U.S. Department of Education

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. For college students, the issue on their campuses remains in flux. Last November, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos unveiled proposed changes to Title IX guidelines pertaining to campus sexual misconduct.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While the issue has received more and more attention, sexual assault is a crime that's still chronically under-reported across the nation. Concern about how the criminal justice system will respond is one of the top reasons victims say they don't report.

Joshua Galemore. Agency: Casper Star-Tribune


It's hard to accept, but child sexual abuse can happen in any community. Prosecuting these crimes means that kids have to disclose the details of what happened, and it's easier for them to do so when people are prepared to listen and intervene. Across Wyoming law enforcement, prosecutors and social services are teaming up to support child victims, but it hasn't always been that way.

Tennessee Watson

Two years ago, this February, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols launched a sexual misconduct task force. This fall the group, more commonly known as the NO MORE Campaign, released a five-year strategic plan that calls for changes like more bystander intervention training and increased support for survivors in the aftermath of an assault.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that would change the way Wyoming handles rape kits or sexual assault biological evidence kits is moving to the House floor.

Flickr Creative Commons/Ruby T

A series of seminars have been organized around Wyoming to educate the public about how to spot human trafficking. According to a state-by-state report by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as many as 110 cases of people sold for labor or sex have occurred in Wyoming since 2007.

created using Mapchart.net

Wyoming is one of just five states without laws pertaining to the parental rights of perpetrators of sexual assault. House Bill 107 would change that.

Wyoming Legislature

Every year the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault gives out what they call PEACE awards ("promoting excellence in advocacy for change and empowerment"). Back in November, they gave one out for best leadership in policymaking. It went to six Wyoming lawmakers who worked to pass six news laws to better protect victims of violence.

The Salt Lake City Police Department has criticized a landmark report released last month that found that more than 500 indigenous women have either gone missing or were murdered in 71 U.S. cities.

Jasmine Bell

Two-time world champion hoop dancer Jasmine Bell spoke and performed at a conference on domestic violence and sexual assault in Riverton last week. Bell is Crow Creek Dakota Sioux and one of the first girls to learn the traditionally male Native American dance when she was five years old. 

Melodie Edwards

This week Wyoming Public Media engaged in a bit of an experiment. Reporters Tennessee Watson and Melodie Edwards set up a pop-up newsroom at the third annual Wyoming Conference for Violence Prevention and Response hosted in Riverton. They joined Caroline Ballard for a conversation about the newsroom and its goals.

Safe Project

The Albany County-based SAFE Project is heading up a new effort to engage men in the movement to end violence against women.

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center

The 2013 Violence Against Women Act is due for a reauthorization by Congress so it can be funded to continue lifesaving services for shelter programs and coalitions nationwide, especially on reservations. A recent bill that would have done so only received Democratic votes and is now stalled. But Republicans did step in at the last minute to keep the act funded by including it in an appropriations bill called the Continuing Resolution or CR.

A class action lawsuit is alleging the U.S. Olympic Committee headquartered in Colorado Springs tolerated sexual abuse, exploitation and forced labor. 

The U.S. Olympic Committee is not specifically named as a defendant in the suit, but that could change as the suit moves forward. 

As stories continue to surface from survivors of sexual violence so do questions about how to reduce the rate at which assault happens. The Equality State Policy Center is hoping to help empower Wyomingites to seek solutions by offering a one day workshop called SHAPE #metoo.

Tennessee Watson


Over the last year, Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson put together an award-winning series on sexual assault at the University of Wyoming. Watson’s conversations with students revealed confusion about the reporting process and uncertainty about the university’s willingness to take action. This spring UW conducted a campus climate survey to get a better handle on the prevalence of sexual violence and what happens in its aftermath. She sat down with UW President Laurie Nichols at her office to discuss the survey, the results and what's next.

Yet another Indigenous woman has gone missing in the Mountain West.

Jermaine Charlo disappeared near a grocery store in Missoula, Montana last month. The 23-year-old is the 13th native woman to go missing in the state since January.

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