Farrell man charged with rape of CU student

Clarion, Pa.- Twenty-year-old Logan Hunter Bernat of Farrell is being charged with the rape of a Clarion University student in her campus dorm room.

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According to a criminal complaint, on Sunday Sept. 27 at 2:42 p.m., Patrolman Justin O’Neil and William McDevitt were dispatched to Nair Hall to perform a welfare check on a woman in her dorm. Previous reports indicated that a community assistant had informed Clarion University Public Safety that it had sounded like “someone was forcing themselves on her.”

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Per the complaint, the victim then informed police that Bernat had allegedly held her down with his right arm after locking her bedroom door and getting into bed with her and had begun to perform sexual intercourse with her without consent.

The victim suffered injuries to various areas in correspondence with Bernat’s actions. The victim was transported to the Clarion County Emergency room, and contact with the local mental/behavioral health center, PASSAGES, was made.

Corporal Shane White traveled to Farrell on Sept. 28 to contact and interview Bernat, and he was positively identified as the same man who was seen in video surveillance getting onto an elevator with the victim in Nair Hall.

Bernat was formally arraigned on Oct. 1 by Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn. Bernat was charged for felony one, rape and forcible compulsion, felony two, sexual assault and misdemeanor two, simple assault.

Unable to post bail of $150,000, Bernat remains in the Clarion County Prison until his preliminary hearing, which is set for Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Clarion University Police Chief Jason Hendershot said it is unfortunate that the University had to handle this situation, he is proud of how his team reacted. “We were able to identify the suspect and have him in custody within 14 hours of the event,” he said, “and I believe that the officers and officials acted professionally and respectfully with both the victim and suspect.”

According to the 2014 Clarion University Fire and Safety Report, the number of rapes occurring on campus has increased from two in 2013 to four in 2014. Hendershot said he believes that this increase is due to an increase in reporting.  “Although the numbers are up, I believe it’s because people are becoming more aware of the fact that they have a variety of sources to turn to, both on the record and anonymously.”

He said, “An increase of awareness and reporting is going to lead to an increase in incidents, but they are incidents that we can provide closure to.”

Clarion University Police will be conducting a 12-hour Rape Aggression Defense training class at the Miller Community Center at the Reinhard Villages, in response to recent events. RAD classes provide an environment for students and staff to learn additional ways to react and protect themselves in dangerous situations or attacks. The course includes a lecture, discussion and self-defense techniques. Classes will take place on Nov. 4, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 from 6 to 10 p.m.

If you are interested in attending this course or have any questions or concerns that need addressed, contact Sergeant Marcy Trombetta at mrupp@clarion.edu.

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