Chief Pastula: ‘I probably should have released something earlier’

An alleged sexual assault occurred between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. Sept. 26 in the campus parking deck, according to a campus-wide email sent the afternoon of Sept. 28 from UNA police Chief Bob Pastula. However, Pastula later confirmed that the incident was alleged rape.

Pastula said he released the alert to campus two days after the event because he thought it would be better to gather more information first.

“That was an error in thinking,” he said. “I probably should have released something earlier. I was trying to gather more information instead of less because of the 15-hour time lapse (between the crime and when it was reported).”

However, a full police report is not necessary to send out a LionAlert, Pastula said.

Pastula confirmed the incident was an alleged rape, but said the official police report documented it as sexual assault. But when The Flor-Ala requested the document, the charge was listed as first-degree rape on the report.

No suspects have been identified, but UNA police have a few leads, Pastula said.

“We’re still not even sure it happened in the deck,” he said. “We have a few leads from people who were on campus at the time, but we don’t have anything concrete yet.”

Officials said they believe the alleged rape occurred near the breezeway that connects Stevens Hall and Floyd Science Building to the parking deck, Pastula said.

The victim, a female UNA student, reported the alleged rape later in the afternoon Sept. 26, and, according to the email, UNA police are investigating the incident.

The student was walking from the breezeway to the parking deck when a man allegedly grabbed her backpack and forced her into the corner of the parking deck and raped her, Pastula said.