Police Investigate Alleged Rapes near SBCC
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Police made arrest in the case of two alleged rapes last week near Santa Barbara City College, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. On Sept. 3, 2014, police arrested Herbert Keith Wells Jr. of Long Beach, Calif.
According to authorities, 18-year-old Wells raped a woman who was sleeping on a couch in the same apartment complex that Wells resided.
The San Diego police department worked alongside Santa Barbara officers to gather evidence about the alleged rape. While investigating the reports, Officer Michael Claytor discovered that on July 26, 2014 another rape had apparently happened in the same apartment complex.
The Channel 3 News reported that Wells had only been in school for a week, but there had already been two violent rapes that took place within five weeks on the Mesa. The apartment complex that the two women and Wells live in is only a short distance from SBCC on Oceano Ave.
After a warrant was issued for Wells’ arrest and law enforcement conducted an apartment search, it was discovered that he had gone back to Long Beach.
Wells turned himself in the next evening and was taken to the Santa Barbara County Jail. Channel 3 News reported that he has been suspended from the college.
This event is pertinent to recent legislation passed on Westmont’s own campus by the WCSA, the Westmont College Student Association. On Aug. 27, the WCSA addressed the “It’s on Us Campaign” to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses throughout the United States.
The WCSA, an elected body of student officials who serve as a voice of the student body, concluded these “issues should not be taken lightly, despite Westmont’s low numbers of reported sexual assaults,” according to the minutes on the WCSA website.
The “It’s on Us Campaign” is part of an initiative set forth by the White House to better protect college students from sexual assault. According to the White House Memorandum, one in five women is victim to an attempted or completed sexual assault while in college, as are a substantial number of men.
The Mesa area of Santa Barbara, where the alleged SBCC rapes occurred, houses many students from Santa Barbara Community College as well as some families and other young adults.
Coming alongside the White House in support of this issue, Westmont hopes to promote education and awareness about a crime that is prevalent among campuses across the nation. Senior representative Hannah Early volunteered to head the campaign.
President Riley Svikhart added that “As a Christian College, Westmont should be on the front lines [of this issue.]”
Given the circumstances of these alleged rapes, mainly the frequency of them, police enforcement is concerned that there are other unreported cases of rape occurring.
According to the Santa Barbara Edhat, Wells has also spent much of his time in Isla Vista, which has its own problems with accusations of rape and sexual misconduct.
According to areavibes.com, a site that provides statistics on crime rate in cities all over the United States, rape statistics in Santa Barbara are well over that of the national average. For every 100,000 persons, 41 alleged rapes happen in Santa Barbara. Nationally, for every 100,000 persons, 27 alleged rapes are committed.
The sad fact about rapes is that so many are never reported, few ever make it to trial and only a tiny portion of rapists are even convicted of their crime.
We live in a college community where instances of rape and sexual assault should not be taken lightly. There are rape crisis centers in Santa Barbara; call their hotlines in case of an emergency.
Rape is by no means a new thing; rape exists in the Bible (Deuteronomy 22:25-29 to name one instance) and has existed for centuries.
Wells remains in jail with a $100,000 bail. Investigators are actively searching for any other crimes committed by Wells both in the Santa Barbara and Isla Vista area.