Sexual assault plagues dorms

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Police are investigating an attempted sexual assault that occurred in Navajo-Pinal-Sierra Residence Hall, 1557 E. Sixth St., early Sunday morning and a possibly related indecent exposure in Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall, 1420 E. Fifth St.

An 18-year-old student told police she was awakened in her room at 8:20 a.m. by a man who placed his hand over her mouth. The victim told police the man attempted to remove her undergarments and she began screaming and kicking at him. The man then fled the room.

The victim did not get a good look at the suspect and was only able to describe him as a white man with a medium build wearing blue jeans.

Tim Taylor, a hall desk clerk, said the general feeling in the hall is that the suspect is not a resident. But, he said, at the time of the attack the only way to enter the hall would be with a key because the front desk is not open early Sunday mornings. He said this leads him to believe either an outside entrance door was not locked properly or propped open.

"There's definitely a heightened sense of security here," Taylor said. "Residents are being sure to lock their doors, which was a problem before. Also (resident assistants) are double checking entrance doors, especially at night, to make sure they're locked."

In what police believe could be a related incident, an 18-year-old student of Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall said at 9 a.m. Sunday she encountered a man exposing himself in the hallway outside her room.

The victim said she was on her way to the laundry room when she first saw the man who she did not recognize as a resident of the hall. She said he startled her and grinned at her "evilly." The student said when she reached the end of the hall she turned around and saw the man standing with his pants and underwear around his thighs and fondling his penis.

She said she screamed and ran to a resident assistant's room to call the police.

She described the man as at least 5 feet 6 inches tall with dirty-blond hair in a military-style crew cut but with a "scruffy" patch of hair near the

top of his forehead. He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans and may have been carrying a flannel type of shirt. She said he was "not clean looking" and did not appear to be a student. She estimated he was 23 to 25 years old.

A female student who was riding her bicycle by the residence hall at the time of the incident reported hearing a woman scream and then witnessing a man fitting the above description run out of the hall.

She said she saw the man come out of the southwest door of the hall and drive away in a white small-size truck. The witness was able to get a partial license plate number.

Police said the case is inactive pending further details.

Another resident in Apache-Santa Cruz reported finding a man masturbating in her room early Saturday evening.

Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall director Alissa Dix said from what she has heard, the descriptions of the suspects are similar.

The 18-year-old victim told police she left her room at about 5:30 p.m. with the door closed but unlocked. When she returned three to four minutes later she said the door was still closed but when she entered the room she saw a man standing in the room with his back toward her. When he realized someone had opened the door he turned around. The victim said he had his shorts pulled down and was holding his erect penis.

The victim said she screamed and ran down the hallway. The suspect also ran, leaving the building.

She said she did not recognize the suspect but described him as a white male in his early 20s, between 5-feet-8-inches and 5-feet-10-inches tall with a thin build and blond hair with a receding hair line. The suspect was wearing brightly colored shorts and a T-shirt.

Although police could not find any doors or windows to the hall propped open, Dix said that is the main way nonresidents enter the hall.

"From the descriptions I've heard I definitely don't think it's a resident," Dix said. "Lots of times residents will prop doors to the outside open so their friends can come in. That's our major concern right now."

Dix said the hall will be holding a safety forum where a UA police officer will come and address residents' safety concerns.

"They're definitely concerned about their safety," she said. "Right now what we're trying to do is make residents more aware of the safety problems that can occur in the dorm. We want them to feel comfortable, this is their home, but we want them to realize we all have to rely on each other."

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