3 charged in alleged sex assault

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 9, 2009

WESSON – Three arrests have been made in what Copiah-LincolnCommunity College officials are calling a “horrible” situation thattranspired Tuesday night, with other arrests possible as detailsunfold.

Co-Lin Public Relations Director Natalie Davis said threearrests have been made in a Tuesday night alleged sexual assault onan unidentified female student.

Timothy Graves, 18, Antonio Davis, 18, and Justin Sandifer, 19,have been taken into custody and charged in connection with thealleged attack, authorities said.

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Copiah County Detention Center officials said Graves and AntonioDavis have been charged with rape and Sandifer has been chargedwith sodomy. All three are being held at the jail without bondpending a Friday hearing.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said additional arrests could bemade in the investigation, which is still ongoing.

“Our campus police have moved swiftly and investigatedthoroughly, and acted appropriately, especially given thedifficulty of this situation,” he said.

Officials said the incident took place in Ellzey Hall, a men’sdormitory.

Nettles said campus police aren’t releasing many details pendingthe outcome of the investigation. Natalie Davis said that policeconsider the situation an isolated event, and that collegeofficials are trying to assure students that they are safe.

“This is Homecoming week, on top of everything else,” she said.”We haven’t canceled anything because of this because we believethis is an isolated incident. It’s not like we have a crazy personrunning around out here putting people in danger.”

Meanwhile, Nettles said, there is still an air of apprehensionon campus as students try to put thoughts of the sordid situationbehind them.

“Obviously our students are nervous and concerned, and we’regoing to have meetings with resident students, whether we meet indorm or small groups, and we’ll try to address whatever concernsand questions they have,” he said. “I actually think there’salready a pretty good dialogue. I think the mood has improved alittle.”

And officials said they are concerned for the well-being of thevictim on top of all else, but also they know that the littlecollege of around 3,500 students is a tight-knit community.

“The folks that know the college know that this college has ahistory of outstanding performance by our students and our faculty,we have dedicated instructors, talented students and an 80-yeartradition, and we can’t allow this to define who we are,” Nettlessaid. “This incident doesn’t represent our college, and most peoplewho know us understand this. It’s horrible, and it’s a terriblething, but it’s not who we are.”