Oklahoma State University suspends student in connection with alleged sexual assaults

Oklahoma State University student Nathan Cochran, 22, was suspended for three years beginning at the end of the current semester, and ordered to have no contact with any of the complainants in the case, OSU officials announced. The current semester ends Friday.
by Silas Allen Modified: December 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012

An Oklahoma State University student has been suspended after an investigation into a series of sexual assaults on male students, the school announced Tuesday.

Nathan Cochran, 22, was suspended for three years beginning at the end of the current semester, and ordered to have no contact with any of the complainants in the case, OSU officials said. The current semester ends Friday.

He has not been charged with a crime.

Stillwater police are investigating a string of alleged sexual assaults involving the FarmHouse fraternity at OSU. A former member of the fraternity allegedly sexually assaulted an “undetermined number of young men,” some of whom were also fraternity members, Stillwater police Capt. Randy Dickerson said. Cochran is a former FarmHouse member.

The young men involved in the case described unwanted touching, oral sex and rape, Dickerson said. The incidents don't appear to be connected to the fraternity itself, he said.

“These were not hazing incidents or any type of fraternity involved event,” he said. “The allegations so far indicate one suspect acting independently to commit illegal acts on a number of victims.”

University spokesman Gary Shutt said OSU officials became aware of the case on Nov. 12, but didn't contact the police. Police learned of the case Thursday from a reporter on the school newspaper.

University officials have maintained that the Federal Education Rights Privacy Act, or FERPA, prohibited the university from contacting police about the assaults. University officials gave the alleged victims instructions on how to contact the police and encouraged them to do so. Initially, none of the alleged victims notified police, he said, but many have chosen to come forward since then.

Despite the university's claim to the contrary, an expert on federal student privacy law said Tuesday nothing in that law would have prohibited Oklahoma State University officials from notifying police of an investigation into a series of alleged sexual assaults.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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