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Student charged with groping other men

Dec. 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM   |   Comments

STILLWATER, Okla., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma State University student was formally charged Thursday with groping other male students while they were asleep.

Nathan Cochran, 22, said little at his arraignment, the Stillwater NewsPress reported. He appeared at the hearing via videolink from the Payne County Jail to be charged with three counts of sexual battery.

Police issued a warrant for Cochran's arrest Wednesday. While Cochran had been subject to university disciplinary proceedings, Stillwater police only learned of the allegations from the student newspaper.

Police Capt. Randy Dickerson told the NewsPress he was "stunned" by university officials' failure to notify police. OSU Vice President Gary Clark said Wednesday he thought the university was bound by the Family Educational and Privacy Act.

"The decision to notify law enforcement at that time was certainly available to Oklahoma State University through exceptions in FERPA," Dickerson said. "They made the decision not to notify police, which is their call to make; however, to attempt to justify this by saying this man is not a threat to other students is quite honestly, a huge misunderstanding of this case."

Complaints made to the university involved five students. Dickerson said five more have been in touch with police and he believes the number of victims might be much larger.

OSU President Burns Hargis says the university will review its response.

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