A former OSU student will have to wait another month to set his preliminary hearing date for four sex crime charges.
Nathan Cochran, 22, appeared in Payne County District Court with attorney John Coyle and pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual battery, which he received Jan. 4. Attorneys on both sides agreed on allowing Cochran to remain free on a personal recognizance bond for the charge, and judge Katherine Thomas authorized the request. He will next appear in court at 10 a.m. March 4.
After the hearing, Coyle defended his client and said the case is "interesting" because of the university's involvement.
"There are three supposed people who have come forward with the allegations," he said. "He says he's not guilty...that it didn't happen."
Cochran has been free on $100,000 bond since Dec. 13 for three other sexual battery charges, which stem from claims he inappropriately touched two men on Nov. 3, 2011 and Aug. 15. In the first case, a man alleged Cochran performed sex acts on him while he slept. The later incident reportedly occurred in an on-campus dorm room, court records show. In the most recent case, a man alleged Cochran tried to put his hands down his pants while the man slept on a sofa bed at Cochran's residence on Aug. 11.
An OSU student conduct panel found Cochran responsible for four sexual misconduct violations on Nov. 30 after five male students came forward with allegations against him. On Dec. 11, university administrators said Cochran was suspended from OSU for three years, lasting until Jan. 1, 2016. The panel also put a no-contact order in effect.
In two of those cases, students claimed Cochran assaulted them on campus property, at Camp Redlands and another on-campus dorm room, according to emails obtained via an open records request.
Stillwater police Capt. Randy Dickerson has said many of the students who approached police are not the same as those who notified student conduct. Police did not learn of the allegations until Dec. 7, when The Daily O'Collegian contacted them after receiving an anonymous email about the situation.
OSU officials did not immediately provide Cochran's identity to law enforcement, a decision that has led to backlash regarding the university's use of federal privacy and campus safety laws. On Dec. 13, the OSU/A&M Board of Regents announced a task force review, which will examine how OSU handled the allegations.