Sexual assault reported near NCSU's Free Expression Tunnel
Posted April 25, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University police sent an alert to students early Thursday after a sexual assault was reported on the north side of the Free Expression Tunnel, in the central part of Main Campus.
A female student reported the incident at about 4 a.m., saying a 20- to 25-year-old man approached her from behind, pushed her into the bushes and sexually assaulted her. Campus Police Chief Jack Moorman said no weapon was used in the incident.
The man was described as black, about 5 feet 10 inches tall with short hair. He was wearing a black shirt with white writing and blue jeans and fled the area north on foot.
"I go through this tunnel at night all the time. I'm in the library till 3 (a.m.) sometimes, especially at this time of year with finals coming up," freshman Cat Crofton said. "Everyone is at the library late, and it's scary to think it could happen at this super-busy tunnel."
The graffiti-covered tunnel is a primary connector between two sections of the N.C. State campus, allowing students and others to go under railroad tracks that cut across campus.
"It’s really disappointing to hear that sort of thing when you first wake up," sophomore Carson Heck said.
Freshman Dominique Spriggs said she views the attack as an isolated incident and doesn't plan to change her habits to avoid the tunnel.
"I think that was kind of a one-time thing. I mean, there are crazy people everywhere," Spriggs said.
Crofton said that she, for one, won't be walking alone near the tunnel after dark. "I’ll probably try to stick with people at night," she said.
Campus police said they are reviewing video from nearby security cameras to see if they can identify the attacker, and they are working on a composite image of the man.
Anyone with information is asked to contact N.C. State police at 919-515-3000.
Authorities reminded students of the following safety tips:
- Never walk alone at night
- Always choose well lit pathways
- Consider the using the Safety Escort Program, which runs from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly
- Have 911 or 919-515-3000 pre-programmed into your phone
- Report any suspicious activity or persons to Campus Police
- Be aware of your surroundings, don't walk with headphones playing
"We encourage our students to take safety precautions," Moorman said.