SRU student allegedly threatens ex-girlfriend’s life

Published by adviser, Author: Haley Barnes - News Editor, Date: November 6, 2014

Disclaimer: There is graphic content regarding indecent assault reported on in this article. If you have been a victim of assault, please be aware of the resources available. Slippery Rock University offers a number of services both on and off campus. For more information please visit

Russel Ferguson, 24-year-old political science major of Harrisville, Pennsylvania, was charged with aggravated assault along with seven different charges on Wednesday following an attack on a female Slippery Rock University student after reading her Facebook messages. 

Ferguson was also charged with carrying a firearm without a license, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, simple assault, indecent assault, providing alcohol to minors, and harassment.

According the police complaint, on Oct. 29 at 5p.m., Ferguson picked the female student up in his green Toyota Tacoma at her on-campus residence hall. He took her to Giant Eagle and Wines and Spirits, where he bought groceries and Black Velvet Whiskey.

Ferguson took the female back to his Butler county residence of 115 Barr Lane and they ate dinner together. As the evening progressed, they began to argue about actions that had been taken since they broke up. He demanded to read her Facebook messages and after reading them, he became angry and broke the computer.

Ferguson allegedly began to strike the female and choke her with his hands. The female now has red marks and scratches on her throat area, according to the report. Ferguson allegedly pointed a Smith & Wesson Revolver at her and threated to kill her too.

“Later [the victim] was on the floor in the living room with Ferguson on top of her,” the complaint says. “Ferguson did pull down her pants and stick his fingers in her vagina while calling her a ‘whore’ and asking her ‘you like this don’t you?’ Ferguson later told [the victim] to leave the residence and then threatened her when she attempted to.”

Ferguson allegedly demanded that she go to bed with him and in the morning, they continued to argue. Ferguson took her back to her on-campus residence hall. The female reported the assault to the Slippery Rock University Police. While reporting, Ferguson began texting her saying he was going to pick her up again at 4 p.m.

While being arrested, Ferguson was carrying the revolver he used to threaten the female’s life.


  1. I think SRU and Haley Barnes should be ashamed of themselves for writing such a explicit detail of this girls horrendous sexual assault. I am sure the victim of this crime really does not appreciate this article as would anyone else this happened to. Truly a lack ethics!!

  2. This is very poor journalism. The seriousness of a matter can be communicated well without the awful details. The elicit explanation of what happened to this poor girl was absolutely unnecessary. I suggest you change your style, Haley Barnes; unless you prefer working for smut magazines/sites.

  3. This is the worst excuse for journalism that I have ever read. SRU should be ashamed. If this was my daughter i would be suing. This is not journalism, this is gossip. Maybe this journalist should apply to work at the Enquirer.

  4. This article has done nothing but re-victimize an already traumatized sexual assault victim. Disgusting, unnecessary, repulsive. Have some compassion for the victim in this situation. If this were my daughter that you wrote about, you better believe that Slippery Rock would have a law suit on their hands.

  5. The Rocket needs to issue an apology to the victim, the readers, and other sexual assualt victims who read this garbage piece of “journalism”. The author and the rocket’s editors have a lot to learn.

  6. I am unbelievably ashamed that my school allowed this to be published. Does nobody review the articles before they are published, or did the person or people in charge of that just seriously think this was okay? I have typically been proud of my school and praised my experience here, but if this is not dealt with by somebody of a higher authority then I will no longer be able to do so. I cannot in good conscious recommend that anybody, especially a female, attend a university that would exploit their suffering like this. Where did the details even come from? Did the University Police let out details they had no business sharing, or did somebody outside of the University Police have the lack of decency to ask the victim for these details they had no business having?

  7. okay first all the reporter did here was pull the criminal complaint filed at the magistrates office. all the grammar errors would be due to the office not utilizing spell check. second this is pulic information act which has been danced by the public to allow access to governmental information. if you do not like this then contact your legislators and get that law repealed. not supporting this conduct but people look in the mirror and you’ll see why this information is published. the public demands it. fortunately the victims names are not published in these type of Crimes. I worked 25 years in law enforcement and was always amazed that people would fight so hard to get this type of information to be released

  8. Is this really how we handle sensitive situations? You’ve successfully managed to re-victimize a fellow student and destroy the reputation of the school’s newspaper. This girl, all of her friends and family, and the total public now know gruesome, unnecessary details, which I’m very concerned how you accessed, and must now live or re-live this event step by step. You have taken what should have been a private matter and turned it into a public atrocity. There was no respect for the privacy of the victim at all.

  9. I understand how the information was accessed. But at the same time, these explicit things did not need to be published. You have only caused more problems for the victim and let out personal details about a case that should have been private. I understand that all of this was accurate and correct information, but you are not a hard hitting, big time newspaper. You are paper that is dedicated to the students of the university and these people are your target publics. Thinks about what you write before you write it. Just because it’s accurate doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

  10. I am so ashamed right now that this article was written from my school. How dare you publish this so that everyone can now read about the horrors that the victim how to go through? This is not necessary information for everyone to be reading. Awareness may be important so that people understand the seriousness of this crime, but not the explicit details. This is not professional at all.

  11. I got this paper today and read this article…gruesome it was indeed and I would feel terrible had I wrote this…the things said in this article were way too derogatory and nobody needed to know the extent. I get the purpose of showing people how this kid is and what he did to her so they’re more weary and don’t hesitate to call police since he’s still somehow allowed on campus….but my god if this happened to me I wouldn’t want it publicized! did they even ask her if this was okay to write about and post? did they get those quotes direct from her?? my god i wouldn’t have said anything to anyone except the police and my parents. completely despicable and I love SRU but I can’t condone this.

  12. How about we look at the larger discussion about domestic violence.

    Rather than claiming how disgusted you are that this could be published, exclaim how disgusted you are that we live in a world where this happens regularly.

    One in three women will be raped. That’s an atrocity worth getting up in arms about, because without that daunting statistic publications like this wouldn’t even exist.

  13. I think that this article was written without thinking of the victims feelings. Instead Haley should have researched Russel Ferguson. He was convicted of Statutory Rape a few years ago and other charges. There are also other new charges still possibly pending. Haley you need to write an exposing article about Russel Ferguson; he needs to be assaulted with the truth. In addition the female students need to stand behind this young lady, even nameless, and support her by not allowing incidents like these to go unreported. Russel Ferguson is a predator , a sexual deviant and needs to be deemed that for the rest of his life. He needs to be permently Megan’s Law and be marked as the sociopathic predator that he is. Haley….I understand you want to be an investigative reporter??? Investigate Russel Ferguson!

  14. And in addition… Russel Ferguson was convicted of Statutory Rape prior to applying becoming a Slippery Rock Student. Does SRU ask if a student is a felon? If so do they personally interview the potential students story? Was this verified??? It is under my understanding the victim met Russel Ferguson at a FYRST Seminar in January 2014….shortly after completing his probation for the prior rape case. Could the victim have been saved this horrific experience had he been honest or SRU completed an extensive interview process???? If he did complete am interview what was SRU thinking???? Ms. Haley Barnes it seems you has a lot of “investigating reporting” to do. Is SRU allowing convicted rapist, no matter the degree, to attend a school where young women, some minors, attend? This is very scary. We live in a society where people are given second chances…. But someone who was convicted of destroying a life in such a violent matter??? There has to be a point where one (even a school) draws the line! Women’s rights, men’s rights…. What happened to our rights as people to be allowed to learn in a university free of someone who is calculating their every move to secure yet another victim???


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