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Detective’s comments on sexual assault upset students

City of San Luis Obispo police car. Photo by Tony Hisgett

Photo courtesy of Tony Hisgett

By Stephen Kondor
Managing Editor of Content

Students are angry after learning that a lead investigator from the San Luis Obispo Police Department claimed that many college students “conjured up” reports of sexual assault.

Word spread quickly among students about how the investigator downplayed sexual assault reports in a recent New Times article.

Sgt. Chad Pfarr was quoted as stating that students often “feel like they got sexually assaulted because they blacked out” from consuming too much alcohol; Pfarr cast doubt on these accounts, claiming instead that reports of sexual assault are often “conjured up.”

Pfarr’s comments come at a time where sexual assault is at the forefront of media coverage in the entertainment industry and in politics.

Brianna Greenway, a 19 year-old Cuesta student and victim of sexual assault, is outraged over the law enforcement officer’s comments.

“[Pfarr’s] comments make it harder for those of us who have been sexually assaulted to come forward,” Greenway said.

Pfarr’s statements are now under review by the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

“We get a ton of young people that come into town that have never really consumed alcohol before and now they’re experimenting with different alcohols,” Pfarr said in the New Times article on Oct. 12.

SLO PD Captain Chris Staley did not return numerous Cuestonian phone calls requesting comment regarding the status of the review and it potential outcomes.

“The San Luis Obispo Police Department wants to support and encourage anyone who has been the victim of any type of crime to report it as soon as possible,” SLO PD said in a statement released on their Facebook page on Oct. 15.

“We will use this interaction as an opportunity to reinforce and enhance awareness and sensitivity to this important issue among all of our officers and to ensure that we are providing the most supportive response and service possible to victims of sexual assault,” SLO PD said.

Cuesta students said that they are irritated that a law enforcement officer could say something they said is unfair.

Lia Fagen, a 20 year-old English major at Cuesta, said she feels as though Pfarr’s comments are sexist.

“That is a stereotype towards women,” Fagen said.

Kyla Finger, a 20-year-old music major at Cuesta, feels like “women aren’t taken seriously” and it has to change.

“It’s a huge problem within our culture and society,” Finger said.

Cuesta students said they feel as though Pfarr’s comments are “uncalled for” and “rude.”

“His comments are very ignorant,” said Collin Bash, a 19 year-old Cuesta student. “It’s not their first time drinking or at a party.”

The Cuesta Health Center has mental health therapy for students who need to talk to someone.

“I start by believing… Any person who comes forward, I — first and foremost — believe them,” added Riley Hasche, a staff member at the Cuesta Health Center. “I would disagree with [Pfarr’s comments] strongly.”