Clarification appended.

The Ohio University Police Department released a statement Friday regarding the department’s interactions with a man who was arrested Wednesday by the Athens Police Department for rape and abduction

Mohammed Al-Mashrafi, 23, of Athens, has been banned from the OU campus, according the news release. He is being held at Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on a $75,000 bond. 

If Al-Mashrafi is bond out of jail and seen on campus, students are urged to call OUPD immediately, according to the release.  

OUPD sent out a second news release from Chief Andrew Powers on Friday in response to a series of comments posted on social media about the arrest. 

“I am writing now to provide factual information about OUPD’s interactions with the suspect prior to his arrest,” Powers said in the release.

Al-Mashrafi first came to the attention of OUPD on Nov. 19 as a result of a suspicious person report made at Alden Library. When that report was filed, Al-Mashrafi had not yet been identified, but subsequent reports indicated he had been “habitually engaging in behavior that made members of our community uncomfortable.”

Although the reported behavior wasn’t illegal, OUPD responded to the calls and attempted to identify the suspicious individual.

On Tuesday, OUPD was able to locate, identify and interview Al-Mashrafi. The officer who interviewed Al-Mashrafi was unable to find a reason to arrest him as none of the reported behavior rose to the level of a crime, according to the release from Powers.

Although no arrest was made, the officer cautioned Al-Mashrafi about how his actions were being perceived and instructed him to stop the concerning behavior. OUPD did not receive any calls concerning Al-Mashrafi following the Tuesday interview. 

“It is important to note that making someone feel uncomfortable is not necessarily illegal or a reliable indicator of future violence,” Powers said in the release. “Therefore, OUPD had no legal basis to issue a warning, publicize photos, or otherwise report on the matter at that time.”

Al-Mashrafi was arrested Wednesday for rape, a first degree felony, and abduction, a third degree felony, after APD received a report of sexual assault that occurred in the uptown area at about 5 p.m.

Powers said in the release that OUPD applauds the people who reported their encounters with Al-Mashrafi and encourages others to adopt the same “see something, say something” strategy, which Powers said contributes to the collective safety of the campus. 

“It is my hope to reassure the community that although we may not be able to publicize the details of our investigations we are always responsive, take calls from our community seriously, and make the safety of our campus our top priority.” Powers said in the release.

@ewagner19

ew047615@ohio.edu 

Clarification: A previous version of this report listed Al-Mashrafi’s surname as being Nasser. According to the Ohio University Police Department, “Nasser” is one of Al-Mashrafi’s several given names. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information. 

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