Columbia Police to investigate MU sexual assault case

Columbia police say they will investigate an alleged sexual assault of former MU swimmer Sasha Menu Courey.

Columbia police confirmed to KRCG 13 Monday afternoon they will investigate the alleged sexual assault of former MU swimmer Sasha Menu Courey.

Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Bernhard said the case has been referred to the department's criminal investigations division. He said investigators will look into information they received from the University of Missouri over the weekend. MU officials announced on Sunday that MUPD had turned information about the incident over to their city counterparts Saturday evening.

The police investigation comes after an ESPN story saying MU did not investigate an assault committed against Courey in February 2010. Courey took her own life in June 2011. ESPN says it obtained numerous records of visits between Courey and campus counselors. A release published Sunday by MU officials says university medical personnel were barred by privacy laws from sharing their conversations with Menu Courey and neither she nor her parents ever requested a formal investigation. University officials declined an offer to elaborate on the role of privacy laws in the investigation for this story.

Bernhard said investigators would start by reviewing the information the department received from MUPD to see if there are any leads. He said detectives would decide what action to take once they do this. Based on the information police have so far, Bernhard said the department thinks the assault took place in the 600 block of Huntridge Drive.

Since four years have passed since the assault allegedly took place, Bernhard said the investigation will be much more difficult.

"Right after it happens, there's a crime scene and there's eyewitness information available, or at least the information is fresher," he explained. "In a case where the case is older, like this, people's memories are different, you may or may not have a crime scene or physical evidence."

Bernhard admitted enough time has passed it is possible the department may not be able to do anything. He said anyone with information about the alleged assault should call the Columbia Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 875-TIPS.