Thankfully, the city decided that the obstruction charges against Royster should be dropped, but this arrest is troubling.
Leigh-Anne Royster, Elon's coordinator for personal health and community well-being, was arrested April 29 on charges of resisting a public officer. Alamance County [North Carolina] District Attorney Rob Johnson dismissed the case Monday afternoon.
According to a statement released by the university Friday, "The charge related to Royster's interaction with a town police officer in connection with Royster's counseling of a student who said she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus location."
The arrest report said a warrant was issued for Royster's arrest April 28. On April 29, she was processed at the Elon Police Department before being transported to the Magistrate's office and placed under a $500 bond.
I can understand an investigator's frustration upon learning that an off-campus rape was disclosed, while being denied the opportunity to investigate that disclosure. However, if the victim doesn't want to file a police report that decision needs to be respected. If the victim was considering reporting this arrest may have slammed the door on that possibility.
The issue of confidentiality is one that was emphasized when I was training for my volunteer work on my local rape crisis line. We did discuss the importance of making notes in a way that could not be misused by a defense attorney if those records were ever ruled non-confidential.
For some this may seem like a minor issue, but minor issues can have a huge impact. This story and the support of the university leadership for Royster may reassure students who have been sexually assaulted that their university will respect the commitment made in the student handbook.