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DA’s office: Evidence lacking in ‘alleged assault’ on Simon’s Rock student

The Campus Safety department at Simon's Rock received a call shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, with a report that a student of color had been assaulted in a wooded area on campus.

Great Barrington — Key details have emerged in the case of a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock who claimed to have been the victim of a violent assault last month on campus.

A statement this morning released by the office of Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington casts doubt on the veracity of the victim’s claims, noting that, after three interviews and an examination of the available evidence, key elements of the student’s story simply do not line up.

The Campus Safety department at Simon’s Rock received a call shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, with a report that a student of color had been assaulted in a wooded area on campus. The student, whose name and age have not been released, was transported by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, and treated for minor injuries and discharged. The incident was preceded by the appearance of anti-Semitic graffiti and racial slurs written on the walls of campus buildings.

An investigation immediately began that included the Great Barrington Police Department, Campus Safety, the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit assigned to the DA’s office, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section, and forensic scientists assigned to the State Police Crime Lab.

In its statement, the DA’s office said: “The investigation remains open, however, given the unease that the complaint has caused for the community, particularly for Simon’s Rock students and faculty.” The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and Great Barrington Police Department are providing the following details:

  • The student informed investigators that the student was rendered unconscious and dragged approximately 75 yards into the woods. The student reported later waking with cuts through the student’s clothing, resulting in cuts to the student’s torso.
  • The ground in the area of which the student was reportedly dragged consisted of a wooden path, dirt and mud.
  • The student’s clothing, shoes, hair and body did not have any dirt or debris on them.
  • The superficial wounds on the student’s torso did not align with the cuts on the student’s clothing.
  • There were no defensive wounds on the complainant.
  • Records provided thus far do not provide a medical reason for unconsciousness.
  • Investigators conducted three interviews of the student.
  • No description of the alleged assailant was provided to investigators during any of the interviews.
  • No surveillance footage of the area is available.
  • None of the witnesses in the area at the time reported seeing any other potentially involved parties in the vicinity.”

The DA’s office said investigators “conducted numerous interviews, searched the grounds, searched electronics, and sent items to the State Police Crime Lab for forensic testing.”

Investigators are looking into all aspects of the case, Harrington said, “from the nature of the original complaint to potential motivations behind the alleged assault.” The investigation remains ongoing by law enforcement and forensic testing has yet to be finalized.

Anyone with additional information that can aid in the investigation is asked to contact Great Barrington Police at 413-528-0306.


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