ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio University said Thursday that is conducting its own investigation into an alleged rape near campus that gained widespread attention when photos and video taken by witnesses circulated on social media.
President Roderick J. McDavis said in a statement that the school's inquiry is "supportive" of the criminal investigation being conducted by the city police department. He said if necessary the university will "take appropriate action to hold those involved accountable."
Police say they are examining images taken and posted to social media websites early Sunday.
Explicit video and photos of a man and woman engaged in a sex act against the front window of a bank were tweeted and quickly reposted across the Internet. Later the woman contacted police in Athens, about 70 miles southeast of Columbus, and reported that she was a victim of a sexual assault.
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said witnesses who recorded the encounter and shared the images online may not have understood they were seeing a possible sexual assault.
Police haven't released names of the people involved, and no charges have been filed.
Pyle told The Post, the OU student newspaper, that the investigation is focusing on whether the sex act was consensual. He said Ohio law holds that a person can't give consent if they are impaired, which includes being intoxicated.
McDavis, in the statement addressed to the university community, said some of the response within the university community has been "divisive and unproductive."
"I ask for your thoughtful input and civility as we seek to ensure the safety of our students as well as the integrity of the Ohio University community," McDavis said. "More importantly, I hope that the unfortunate incident of last weekend strengthens our community by inspiring an unprecedented level of care within our university family."
Police in Steubenville in eastern Ohio used widely circulated photos of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players last year in their investigation. A judge convicted the teens of rape in March.