US

Online images of sexual encounter being examined by police after Ohio U. student's rape report

A  Jan. 2011 photo shows Athens City Police Chief Tom Pyle in Athens, Ohio. Pyle said Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, that photos taken of an alleged rape Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013,  may seem despicable to the average person but are also helping police in their investigation.  (AP Photo/Athens Messenger, John Halley)  (

A Jan. 2011 photo shows Athens City Police Chief Tom Pyle in Athens, Ohio. Pyle said Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, that photos taken of an alleged rape Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, may seem despicable to the average person but are also helping police in their investigation. (AP Photo/Athens Messenger, John Halley) (  (The Associated Press)

Pictures posted online in disbelief by witnesses of a sidewalk sexual encounter near Ohio University could hold the key to a rape investigation after a college student told police she was the victim of an assault.

Police in Athens say they're examining the photos as part of their investigation into a report of an assault near the campus early Sunday morning.

Chief Tom Pyle tells Athens News the encounter may have appeared consensual to the onlookers who took and posted photos.

Pyle says investigators have talked to the female student who made the report and the man in the photos. He says they're cooperating with police.