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Ball State under federal investigation for handling of sex assault case

MUNCIE, Ind.- Ball State University is under federal investigation after a male student says the school did not adequately investigate after he complained about being sexually assaulted by another male student.

The alleged victim has now filed a claim with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

According to our newsgathering partners at the Indianapolis Star, the student is accusing the University of discrimination based on sex and disability, although many details of the case have been withheld because of privacy laws.

A spokesman for the University said they received notice of the investigation on July 10 and said they are cooperating with investigators. The Department of Education also confirms its involvement but said as a matter of policy they can’t comment on any investigation, including this one.

“That does surprise me, definitely,” said Ball State freshman Mary Lowry.

She said during orientation, Ball State made a big presentation about the importance of preventing and reporting sexual assault, letting new students know how seriously the school takes the issue.

“It seems like they have a lot of preparations to handle it very well,” said Lowry.

And while the victim in this case did report his assault, some experts say that’s not always the case.

“The general trend is that men and boys are much less likely to come forward and identify themselves as being a victim of sexual assault,” said Mahri Irvine, of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault.

“I think it is really important to recognize that when we’re doing prevention programs…to always acknowledge that are a large number of men and boys who have been victimized,” said Irvine.

Across the country there are 254 other active college sexual assault investigations the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office is handling.

No word yet on how long the case at Ball State will take to complete.