Former student accused of rape in court on bond hearing

Connor Hendry stands before Judge Laurie J. Pittman on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Connor Hendry, a former Kent State student accused of raping a 20-year-old woman in Centennial Court C dormitory in April 2018, was granted an expansion of his bond privileges during a hearing Tuesday.

Portage County Common Pleas Court Judge Laurie Pittman will allow Hendry to attend religious services once a week at St. Patrick Catholic Church, take one trip a month to attend mandatory Ohio Army National Guard drill exercises and meet with his lawyers. Each trip must be approved with a 24-hour notice.

Hendry was indicted Jan. 28 for the rape of a fellow Kent State student and arraigned Feb. 4 on four felonies, including rape, sexual battery, sexual imposition and abduction, according to Portage County court records. Hendry was released after his father, Joseph Hendry, posted 10 percent of his $35,000 bond. Joseph retired in 2016 as a lieutenant on the Kent State police force. Hendry was placed on a home-arrest monitoring program that includes work privileges.

Hendry was also brought up on charges through Kent State’s student judiciary process, but the sanctions were not enacted until August, almost four months after the alleged incident occurred. It is unclear if Hendry was barred from campus immediately after the alleged rape was reported to the university police.

Documents obtained by KentWired from Hendry’s student conduct hearing show he was found “responsible” for the violation of sexual/gender harassment. The actual hearing date is not visible in the partially redacted document, but the sanctions placed on Hendry begin August 9, 2018, and include:

  1. Disciplinary suspension until Aug. 17, 2020. Hendry was deemed a persona non grata, meaning he cannot enter any Kent State property or facilities, including on the regional campuses. He must get special permission in advance if he wants to come on campus for any reason.

  2. Disciplinary probation until May 17, 2021. Continued or repeated violations of university policies and/or regulations may be cause for further action by the conduct court or lead to dismissal from the university. The document also states, “Better decisions are expected in the future.”

  3. Hendry is prohibited from having contact until May 17, 2021, with a person whose name is redacted from the document but is presumably the victim. This includes “direct contact and all forms of communication, including but not limited to email, social networking sites, phone, Instant Messaging, and any contact through third parties.” Any contact by Hendry that is considered harassing could be construed as retaliatory and could lead to further accusations in the judiciary and/or lead to criminal charges.

  4. Hendry’s Kent State registration file is on an “ineligible hold” until he provides documentation from a licensed health care provider that he is “capable of succeeding in a collegiate environment.” It is also recommended Hendry “discuss healthy gender / sexual relationships” with the health-care provider.

The second page of the two-page document is blacked out and unreadable. Tricia Knoles, the community resource officer for the Kent State University Police Department (KSUPD), told the Record-Courier that Hendry and the alleged victim knew each other. It is unknown what happened prior to the alleged sexual offense.

Hendry, who was listed as a senior criminology and justice studies major in the university directory, attended Kent State between Fall 2014 and Summer 2018. Hendry was also employed by the university as a security aide on campus but was not on duty when the incident occurred. It is unknown what happened to Hendry’s status as a security aide following the incident.

Brian Hellwig, an assistant director for Residential Communities on campus, wrote in an email that security aides do several rounds per night in the residence halls, enforcing university policies, and checking fire safety equipment.

As for what the security aides have access to, Hellwig wrote, “Security Aides check out a set of keys before their shift each night and sign them back in at the end of the night. All of their keys have the same access levels, which is exterior entrance doors, elevators and custodial closets and RHD (Residence Hall Director) and GA Offices.”

KentWired previously reported that no FlashALERT was issued at the time of the alleged rape, nor were resident assistants notified of the alleged incident.

Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, also known as the Clery Act, two criteria affect whether or not an emergency alert must be sent out to the campus. First, the notification must be sent out in a timely manner, and second, the incident must present an ongoing threat to the campus community.

The university said the reason an emergency notification wasn’t sent to students was because the alleged victim knew Hendry, the police knew his identity and didn’t consider him an ongoing threat and they believed it was an isolated incident.

The Clery Act is a federal law that mandates universities to be transparent about campus crime and statistics. It also mandates universities to release an annual security report to the campus that reflects statistics involving reports of rape, sexual assault, burglary and theft.

A public records request for Hendry’s student employment records was denied under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In an email responding to the request for the records, Stephanie Jones, a special assistant in the university’s office of general counsel, said “records containing personally identifiable information of students are protected” under FERPA and may not be disclosed without the student’s permission. This includes student personnel records.

KentWired also made multiple requests for the police incident report filled out by the responding officers and received what appears to be the dispatcher log record instead. It states only that the incident occurred April 22 at 11:15 p.m. in Centennial C dormitory and that it was a sexual offense.

A follow-up email from Nichole DeCaprio, associate counsel in the university’s General Counsel Office, said, “There are no records specifically responsive to your request below. I have attached the incident report. The case report is considered investigatory work product under ORC 149.43(A)(1)(h) & (A)(2), and will not be released at this time.”

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that incident and offense reports, and underlying statements and interviews, are not confidential investigatory records because they initiate an investigation and are not part of an investigation itself.

Lydia Taylor is the digital content editor. Contact her at [email protected]

Brandon Bounds is an assigning editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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Hendry Indictment (Text)