Missouri State University in Springfield (Photo courtesy of the school)

Missouri State University in southwest Missouri’s Springfield is experiencing an uptick in reports of sexual assault. Since July, there have been five cases compared to nine in 2018.

University officials say they are encouraging students to come forward if something happens. Sexual assault includes a range of accusations from rape to inappropriate touching.

Not all cases have been investigated, but the University title IX coordinator, Jill Patterson, says the number is “alarming.” She adds that in 80 to 90 percent of cases, sexual assault occurs as an abuse of trust, and not from a stranger in the dark.

By Nathaniel Polley of Missourinet affiliate KSGF in Springfield