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November 21, 2002

Female student attacked on campus

From: Towerlight
Nov. 21, 2002

by Sarah Breitenbach
November 21, 2002

Sunday evening at around 9 p.m. a female student was sexually assaulted on University Avenue in the area of Lida Lee Tall.

An hour later the victim alerted the Towson University Police that an unknown African American male, about six-foot-two and weighing about 200 pounds, wearing a dark colored knit cap and a dark jacket of shiny material approached her from behind, grabbing her chest.

The victim said she then kneed the man in the groin area before he pushed her to the ground, after which he kicked her legs lightly and fled the area heading west on University Avenue toward Towsontown Boulevard.

According to police reports, the victim scratched her face on the concrete, but refused any medical attention.

The victim also attested that her attacker smelled strongly of alcohol.

There was no implication of weapons, and no witnesses were present in the area at the time.

Lieutenant Joe Herring of the Towson University Police Department said the fourth-degree sex offense, which marks the first reported sex offense at TU in 2002, will be handled accordingly.

"Obviously we are pushing up investigative leads at the time. We have increased visible patrols with University patrol in this area and other areas of campus," he said. "The Community Crime Reduction unit is actively investigating the issue."

Herring reported that last year there were four fourth-degree sex offenses reported on campus.

A fourth-degree offense is classified as sexual contact against the will and without the consent of the victim. This crime is considered a misdemeanor, and the penalty is one year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

According to statistics presented by Herring, in the year 2000 Towson had one reported rape, compared to six at the University of Maryland, College Park, two at Frostburg University and one at Salisbury.

"Towson is a safe school," he said. "You have to consider the area when you're educating the community on crime prevention."

Herring explained that he believes the TUPD is doing an excellent job of taking care of the campus.

"For the fourth year in a row we've come out number one for departments our size in the state of Maryland," he said. "I think we are doing all we can do in terms of crime prevention."

Herring said that it is important for students to exercise caution and crime prevention techniques.

"We are encouraging students not to walk alone on campus, to travel in groups, to let someone know that you're coming," he said. "If you're walking from point A to B, let them know what your course of travel is going to be, who you're going with, so if you don't arrive in time [they can start looking for you]."

By educating people about how to be safe and protect themselves, Herring believes that crime prevention can be greatly improved.

"Nothing that we can do can take the place of everyone practicing sound crime prevention techniques," he said.

He also encourages students to use the Escort Service when walking on campus at night by calling (410) 704-SAFE.

However, with this in mind, some students say they still feel uncomfortable on campus alone at night.

Freshman deaf studies major Heather Magoon said she is always very nervous about having to walk alone after dark.

"My roommate and I are always very cautious when we have to walk somewhere [at night]," she said. "I feel like it's night and day, during the day I'm fine ? I don't feel safe all the time."

Freshmen Erika Eskenazi expressed her concerns about leaving her evening class and walking across campus.

"I basically run [from Linthicum Hall to the Residence Tower]," the deaf studies major said. "It's one of those eerie feelings, you know you're not suppose to be doing this, you're not suppose to walk by yourself [at night]."

Both agreed that they would feel more comfortable walking on campus at night if the area had more lights.

Eskenazi noted that from "the path from the [Glen] bridge to the middle of campus, there's no light."

© 2002 The Towerlight Online