Local News

Police Release Composite Of Duke Assault Suspect

Posted October 10, 2002

— Officials at Duke University are considering tighter security at campus dorms following a reported assault on west campus early Wednesday morning.

Duke University police said a 19-year-old female student was assaulted in a second-floor bathroom of Wannamaker Dorm around 5:20 a.m.

Investigators said the student entered a locked bathroom where a man was waiting inside and grabbed her.

The student tried to use a pen knife on her key chain to protect herself. The suspect grabbed the pen knife and and cut the student on her face, chest, arm and thigh, campus police said.

Police said the suspect tried to sexually assault the student, but she was able to escape to her dorm room, where she called police.

She was treated for minor injuries at Duke Hospital and released.

Police have not ruled out whether the suspect is a student. Word of the attack is making some students uncomfortable.

"It's something that shouldn't happen on a college campus," student Jake Roberts said.

Police have released a composite of the suspect. The suspect is described as a white male, between 18 and 25 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a stocky build and long brown hair. He was wearing a red shirt and jeans.

Keys are needed to get into campus dorms, rooms and bathrooms. Students think there is still room for improvement.

"I wish there were more security officers wandering around the dorms like last year," student Jessie Brotherton said.

As a result of Wednesday's incident, housing administrators met to discuss even more changes, which include adding a second lock to bathroom doors so only women can access female bathrooms and only men have access to male bathrooms, said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.

A longer-term solution now being considered is requiring the use of student ID cards to electronically control bathroom locks.

Last year, a student was reportedly attacked in an east campus dorm. The suspect in that case was never caught.

As a result, increased security measures, including additional police patrols, closed-circuit video in dorms and improved parking lot security and lighting were put into effect.

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