A database of “unusual” sexual assaults in the University of Pennsylvania’s flagship campus is being rebranded after its founder was found dead, The Associated Press has learned.
A new, publicly accessible version of the Penn State College Park Police Sex Offender Registry was updated Wednesday, making it available to all Penn State students, faculty and staff, and to the public for the first time.
It includes more than 1.4 million crimes, including rape, sexual assault and burglary.
The database is the first such database to be updated in more than 20 years, said the registry’s executive director, Michael O. Fischberg.
The new name is the result of a collaborative effort between the University’s Police Department, the University System of Pennsylvania, the school’s police chief and the city of Philadelphia, Fischburg said.
The information has been kept private for a number of years, and has only recently been made available publicly.
The city has said it’s aware of the changes and is working to address privacy concerns.
The original name was “Abandonment of Hope.”
It was changed to the new name “Hottest College” in an effort to keep the database safe, said Sarah R. Jones, the university’s director of communications.
The Penn State Police Sex Crime Response Center has more than a million active crime reports and is able to investigate the thousands of suspected sexual assaults reported every year.
In a statement, the Police Department said it was “horrified” by the news of the death of the founder of the database, Dr. Paul D. Zumthor, and was taking “all appropriate actions to assist the family and community.”
Zumthors death has raised questions about the use of the sexual assault database, which has been plagued by security breaches, falsified records and false or incomplete reports.
Penn State Police said it is “committed to ensuring that our community has access to this valuable resource” and is “aware of the recent developments and is committed to making the changes necessary to ensure it is safe for the students, staff and faculty who use it.”
In a written statement, Zumstor’s family said they were devastated by his passing.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the Pennsylvania State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department and all the Penn Staters who have cared for Paul since the day of his death,” they said.
“This database has given our family comfort, helped our community feel safe and we will continue to keep everyone posted on its status.”
The new database is being built in partnership with the university, which is partnering with the police department on the project.
The Penn State Department of Education is providing funding for the project, which was announced in November.
The police department’s database of sexual assaults is known as the Sexual Assault Resource Center, or SAFR, and is the largest repository of such data in the country.
It has been used to help investigators identify and investigate sexual assaults, and police departments across the country have been using it to track and prevent sexual assaults.
The department has also used the database for its own investigations.
It will continue providing information about sexual assaults to the school and other agencies that it monitors, Fichberg said.