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Private college students kidnapped, sexually assaulted

A convicted felon has been charged with abducting two Christian college students and forcing them to perform sex acts on each other at gunpoint after they violated curfew and were locked out of their southwest Missouri campus.

Robert Hyslop, 49, of Branson, Missouri, is jailed without bond on charges of kidnapping, sexual abuse and sodomy, the Springfield News-Leader reported. No attorney is listed for Hyslop in online court records. He could face life in prison if convicted.

College of the Ozarks, in the small town of Point Lookout, has a 1 a.m. curfew. Gates to the front entrance, known as the Gates of Opportunity, remain locked until 5 a.m.

Charging documents say the two students, a male and a female, arrived back at campus 10 minutes too late in the early hours of Oct. 29, so they went to a nearby commuter lot to sleep.

Hyslop, who was on probation for a 2017 drug conviction, told Taney County investigator Dan Luttrell that he had been high on methamphetamine for three days when he spotted the sleeping students around 3 a.m., court records say. Hyslop allegedly used a hammer to smash the passenger window, showed a gun, and got inside the car.

Luttrell said Hyslop admitted forcing the male student to drive to a highway lookout. Once there, he allegedly forced the students to perform sex acts on each other, and forced the woman to touch him sexually.

Hyslop then told the students to drive him back to his car, Luttrell wrote. The students contacted police and gave a detailed description of their attacker and his vehicle. He was arrested several days later. Charges were filed Thursday.

College of the Ozarks spokeswoman Valorie Coleman said the college received a report about the incident on Oct. 29 and issued a campus safety alert on Oct. 30. She declined further comment about the alleged crime.

Sue Head, the college's vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education, said students can call a 24-hour security number to unlock the gate.

"We do have the phone number posted clearly at the front gate," Head said.

Coleman and Head said there are legitimate reasons for students to break curfew, including working off-campus jobs. But, she said, "If they are habitually late, they are going to have to have a conversation with the dean of students."

Coleman said the college has offered the students confidential counseling.

"We are sick over this incident for the students. We are trying to protect their privacy," Coleman said. "The fact that all the details have been in the media, I just hate that for them."

A campus for another school, Ozarks Technical Community College, also is near the commuter lot. That college was not notified of the alleged crime, spokesman Mark Miller said.

"We are a little bit concerned that neither C of O (College of the Ozarks) or Taney County reached out," Miller said.

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