Watch CBSN Live

Online images probed after Ohio University student's rape report, police say

The location in Athens, Ohio where the alleged sexual assault took place. CBS affiliate WBNS

(CBS) ATHENS, Ohio - An Ohio University student says she was raped on a street in Athens and the alleged assault was photographed by witnesses and shared on social media, reports CBS affiliate WBNS.

Investigators say they have spoken to both the man and woman in the photo and they are trying to determine exactly what happened. No arrests have been made in connection with the case.

The 20-year-old woman reportedly contacted Athens Police on Sunday night and said she had been raped. She said the alleged assault took place Saturday morning sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on a street near campus.

Within hours, photos and video of the incident reportedly appeared online.

The photo reportedly appears to show a sexual act taking place between a man and a woman against the window of a bank.

Along with the person taking the photo, there is at least one other bystander visible, reports the station.

"You could view that picture and certainly suggest that a sexual assault took place," said Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle told the station. "You could also suggest other things."

Pyle says that while the pictures may seem despicable, they are also helping police in their investigation.

Investigators told WBNS they have not located the witnesses to the alleged sexual assault, and are concerned the threat of a public backlash may keep them from coming forward.

Authorities say the people who took the photos and posted them online may have thought they were seeing consensual public sex.

Athens Police urge anyone who witnessed what happened to come forward to help them determine the facts behind the photos.

Ohio University says in a statement it is assisting the investigation and providing support to the accuser.

View CBS News In