UM Student From Tajikistan Charged with Multiple Counts of Sexual Assault
On Thursday, September 10, Missoula Police filed charges against a University of Montana student by the name of Fazliddin R. Sharipov on suspicion of sexual assault. Although the charges were recently filed, the actual act was reported two weeks ago and reportedly occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, August 28 on Eddy Street not far from the UM Campus.
According to UM spokeswoman Peggy Kuhr, the time gap between the report and the charges is due to the time it took for a full investigation by Missoula Police Department.
"We have had a report of a sexual assault, although this was two weeks ago, and involved two students," Kuhr said. "The UM police at the time found the victim and then went through their protocols ushering her to safe care and then they transferred the legal case and the prosecuting over to city police."
The latest charging document accuses Sharipov of five counts of misdemeanor unwanted sexual contact with a female student including “touching her buttocks, breasts and vagina, with his hands on top of and under her clothes, and by touching her with his penis on top of her clothes.”
Kuhr said that procedural changes at UM are insuring that the victim has received proper medical attention and that law enforcement personnel from various departments were able to work together smoothly.
"Protocols that the law enforcement agencies across Missoula have in place mean that city police work very closely with UM police. We know that the student that reported the assault has been afforded access to all of the information available and healthcare needed about facilities and help on campus as well as in the Missoula community. So, I think [our response] has gone well, as far as a law enforcement and a care for everyone involved stance."
According to Fazlidden's Facebook page, he came to the University of Montana on August 24, just four days before the attack reportedly occurred. The page also claims he is from Dushanbe, Tajikistan and that he works for the "Government of the Republic of Tajikistan."
UM officials were unable to confirm whether or not Fazlidden is a foreign student and the information was, if ever available, appears redacted from the municipal court filing.
According to Missoula Police Sgt. Jim Klawitter, Fazlidden may face up to five years in prison, also, authorities have taken Fazlidden's passport to prevent any attempts of escaping the country.
"The judge made that a condition of his release from jail is to surrender his passport," Klawitter said. "Depending on the results of a trial [that will happen in the future], it will be up to customs and immigration to decide what happens, if anything happens further."