Intruder in dorm
Woman harrassed while taking shower yesterday
A middle-aged man made a sexual advance toward a woman in Anderson Hall yesterday around 6:40 a.m., pulling back the shower curtain in the women's bathroom on the third floor while she was showering.
She screamed and the intruder fled. He is currently at large. The victim was not injured, said Julie Weber, executive director of Housing and Dining Programs.
This is the third incident of males making sexual advances this semester according to Dwight Allen, manager of police services for Public Safety.
Public Safety is currently investigating the advances and released a campus crime alert yesterday detailing the incidents and providing descriptions of two suspects. Allen does not know if the incidents are related.
"[Public Safety officers] are going to be consistently looking for someone matching that description, that will be ongoing," Public Safety Director Colleen Carson said.
On average, about one or two intruders enter the residence halls each year and make sexual advances, Weber said, adding that it doesn't happen every year. The intruders typically enter in early morning, when most residents are asleep, and make advances in the showers, she said.
After the incident, the victim called Public Safety at 6:48 a.m., which notified Weber and the resident director on duty. The RD responded to the scene along with the two resident assistants on duty. One nearby R.A. was also present.
Based upon a description, the desk receptionist on duty identified the suspect as having left the building shortly after, Weber said.
The suspect is described as a white male, between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with curly, light to medium brown hair and a medium build of 160 to 180 pounds. He is described as approximately 35 to 40 years old, wearing a gray T-shirt and green cotton shorts.
"Our first concern is the safety of the residents of the building," Weber said. There was little concern that the intruder was still in the building, she said. If so, Public Safety would make sweeps - checking every floor, lounge and bathroom - in the building.
MPD was called and a report of an unlawful entry crime was filed. Five public safety officers canvassed University property immediately after the incident.
"If you don't catch someone immediately after [a crime] .... its a very low percentage of being able to identify the person after the fact," Carson said.
When the four day-shift officers came on duty at 7 a.m., they were briefed and shown the description of the suspect and also searched for him.
"In almost all cases, when someone screams out loud, the intruder knows that they have to leave," Weber said. "There hasn't been a case that I recall that the intruder hasn't left right away."
There was no injury and the victim is receiving proper care, Weber said.
By 7:30 a.m., there was no sign of the suspect, Carson said.
Weber believes that the residence halls are safe, despite the incident.
"Based on the volume of incidents, for the size of population that we have, one or two intruders is not very many," Weber said, although she would like there to be none.
The man entered and left through the front doors, and Weber said that the security surrounding them - the locks, card-swipe and desk receptionist to check IDs - is not fail safe.
"No hardware, a lock or card swiper, can be 100 percent perfect," Weber said, explaining that the human element of the system is often what falters. During busy periods, students often hold the door open for others and unless a staff member stops people who do not show their student IDs, non-residents can slip in.
More often, she said, a non-resident will approach a student and ask to be allowed in as a guest, gaining access to the building.
Two other sexual advances, one in August and one in late October, occurred on campus, Carson said. Both took place in the garden between Bender Arena and Hughes Hall and was possibly committed by the same man. The man reportedly exposed himself and then approached two passing females, asking them to come closer, the crime alert said.
He is described as a white male, six feet tall, with long curly hair and wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans.
The crime alert said that peeping toms and exposers rely on surprise and concealment to rush up to unaware victims.
"Don't consider people who expose themselves as harmless, because they are not," Allen said, explaining that they may become violent.
Students are advised to use the "buddy system" and not walk alone, avoid concealed and dark areas, Public Safety's non-emergency extension for an escort if students are uncomfortable walking on campus is x2525.
Public Safety asks anyone with information regarding these incidences or who witness suspicious activity to call the emergency extension x3636.