Wyoming News Briefs SEPTEMBER 6
September 5, 2019
Sex assault reported after first day of UW classes
LARAMIE (WNE) — After just the first day of fall classes at the University of Wyoming, a sexual assault allegedly occurred in one of the university’s dormitories, according to an email from UW.
According to UW’s police logs, staff reported the Downey Hall “sex offense” Thursday morning. The log indicates the crime occurred at around 9 p.m. Wednesday night, when a male perpetrator who was “known to the victim” assaulted a female.
“Advocacy and medical support options were provided to the victim, and the matter is under investigation,” UW’s email stated.
The email was sent for UW to be compliant with the Jeanne Clery Act of 1990, which requires universities to share information about crimes and other safety issues.
The Clery Act requires emergency notifications about imminent dangerous situations, like a tornado. It also requires “timely warnings” about a serious crime, like the one issued Wednesday.
In the last year, UW has sent out four timely notices for sexual assaults.
One of those instances later was discovered not to have allegedly occurred on campus, UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said in an email.
In that same timeframe, 14 sexual assaults were reported to UW Police.
Police logs state there was an anonymous report Aug. 21 of a sexual assault occurring in the “campus area.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were 21 reported rapes in on UW’s campus in 2017, 19 in 2016, and 14 in 2015.
Evanston man’s body found in pond
EVANSTON (WNE) — In a cruel end to the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 27-year-old man who had only recently moved to Evanston lost his life in the Bear Ponds on the evening of Monday, Sept. 2. Cory Bellard relocated to Evanston from Louisiana in May, according to friend and roommate Nathan Mackie.
Emergency crews responded to the scene shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday after receiving a call about a suspected drowning. They spent the next three hours searching the water before recovering the victim’s body at about 8:15 p.m.
Mackie said Bellard moved to Evanston, where he had family living, to “make a better life for himself and his young daughter.”
“He was my roommate and one of my best friends,” said Mackie. “He had such an impression on me, and I’d only known him a couple of months.”
According to Mackie, the two shared a love of “stupid, funny comedy movies,” hanging out with friends, skateboarding, listening to music and more.
Mackie said Bellard loved the Bear River and ponds and visited the area to swim nearly every day. Though Mackie was invited to go to the ponds with Bellard and other friends that afternoon, he opted not to go.
Details of the incident have not yet been released by the Evanston Police Department, other than to confirm Bellard’s name and age.
Man sentenced to prison in assaults
JACKSON (WNE) — Surrounded by friends and family, two women sat shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed courtroom as a judge announced Mathew Seals’ prison sentence.
Teton County District Court Judge Timothy Day had the task of deciding two sentences Wednesday.
The two women’s cases were tried separately, although the charges against Seals in each were similar — various counts of aggravated assault, battery, strangulation and domestic battery.
“No other woman should have to endure the chronic psychological and physical harm Mathew Seals placed upon me and his other victims,” one of the victims told the judge. “It’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when he hits his next girlfriend too hard, and she doesn’t wake up in the morning.”
In July, a jury convicted Seals on eight of the nine counts he was facing. The 34-year-old then pleaded guilty to another count of aggravated assault in the second case.
Over the past year, the court has heard violent stories and seen photos of injuries the women endured while dating Seals.
Day acknowledged a trend in violent behavior and the “gruesome injuries” Seals caused.
“The defendant has been on notice for years, and these are violent offenses,” Day said. “A substantial prison sentence is justified here.”
Day sentenced Seals to 6 to 10 years for the first case and 7 1/2 to 10 years in state prison on the second case. As part of the plea agreement, the sentences will run concurrently.
Carbon Co. says wind farm applications incomplete
RAWLINS (WNE) — Citing issues with interconnectivity and BLM permitting, the Carbon County Commission on Tuesday found Conditional Use Permit applications submitted on behalf of Two Rivers and Lucky Star wind farms incomplete.
Despite completing the permitting process earlier this year in Albany County, BluEarth Renewables, a Canada-based power producer heading both projects, has yet to submit a permitting application with the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM owns parcels of property underneath the proposed routes, which, combined, is set to erect up to 277 wind turbines near Medicine Bow and across into Albany County.
The combined total price tag for these projects nears $1 billion. In Carbon County, Two Rivers is set to encompass approximately 15,881 acres, while Lucky Star will cover 15,802 acres.
Commissioner Sue Jones said she does have a problem with the county potentially “being this far ahead” of the BLM when an agreement has yet to be finalized.
Meanwhile, commissioners also voiced concerns over interconnectivity deals, worried that the wattages of each project may turn out to be incompatible with the proposed substations they intend on connecting through.
According to BluEarth representatives, however, they have no reason to believe they’ll encounter road blocks with PacifiCorp related to Large Generator Interconnection agreements with the Warren Buffett-backed company.
“Today, we don’t see any concerns relative to where we are planning on interconnecting,” Daryl Sheerer, BlueEarth project developer, said. “We have a transmission route that we believe is feasible.”