District attorney won’t pursue Belmont sex assault claim 

The sexual assault case that had the Belmont university community locking down doors and beefing up security was closed Friday without an arrest or charges being filed.

On Jan. 20, a female Notre Dame de Namur student reported being sexually assaulted in her dorm room, but had no recollection of the event. Belmont police Lt. Dan DeSmidt said alcohol played a role in the incident.

Throughout the next two and a half months, the Belmont Police Department conducted dozens of interviews, asked for community help in finding witnesses and worked with the university to increase on-campus security.

Within the last month, officers identified a male NDNU student that was connected to the case, said DeSmidt. He cooperated with the investigation and the case was then turned over to the Sexual Assault Unit of the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office for review.

"The man came up while we investigated a number of different leads on the campus and he cooperated with all of our investigations," DeSmidt said.

Elaine Tipton, supervising deputy district attorney for the unit, said she reviewed the evidence and decided that a trial-worthy case did not exist.

Had it gone to trial, Tipton said the defendant would have been charged with rape of an unconscious person and rape of a person under the influence of an anesthetic.

"By the mere definition of what the charges are, they can be very difficult to prove," Tipton said.

University spokesman Richard Rossi declined to comment on the closing of the case, but told The Examiner that life had begun to settle down in the months following the assault, and the school had shifted its security personnel to increase patrols during evening hours.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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