Authorities continue investigation

by Megh Duwadi | 11/13/01 6:00am

While heightened tension remains on campus following last Saturday's attacks on two female students, tight-lipped Hanover Police Department officials said the investigation is progressing.

The Department has not released any details on the attack in front of Streeter Hall, according to Capt. Chris O'Connor, "because it may prejudice the investigation."

Lt. Francis Moran of the Department's detective division is heading the case, which is being treated as an assault investigation.

According to O'Connor, Moran's interviews have been fruitful. "I think he feels that right now, after each interview or after information is learned, it leads him down another road."

When asked if the Department suspected the assailant to be a Dartmouth student, O'Connor said, "We have no reason to believe it is or is not."

Student records have not been requested to aid in identifying suspects. O'Connor said it is "pretty hard to say" whether the Department will need to request records from the College.

"It's such an early phase of the investigation," O'Connor said. "The only time we request any type of records from the College is if in fact we have a person or persons who we wanted to obtain information on."

College Proctor Bob McEwen said on Sunday that Dartmouth will cooperate with the police investigation. "We have certain guidelines that we have to follow, but there will be cooperation on the part of the College, absolutely."

While no Streeter Hall residents contacted by The Dartmouth were eyewitnesses to the attack, several heard screams from the direction of Tuck Mall between 4 and 4:30 a.m.

A Streeter resident said he awoke to voices of Safety and Security officers speaking with a female student outside his door. He was not given the details of the attack until later that morning, when his girlfriend forwarded him a BlitzMail message describing what had happened.

"It made me worried," the student said, "but I think it's the girls who were affected a lot more."

"I heard screaming from outside," said Karina Valverde '02, who dismissed what she heard as the late-night mischief of partygoers heading home from Webster Avenue.

Valverde said she was frightened by the proximity of the incident to her room, "Just because it was right behind the building ... I'm not as comfortable walking around at night alone [now]."Her floor-mates, all upperclass females, have decided to keep the bathroom door closed when not in use and lock all other doors on the floor.

Paul Seligman '03 was also woken by the sounds of the victim resisting her assailant's advances.

"I was up here and heard a scream from outside for about 20 seconds," he said.

Karin Batalden '02, in her room at the time of the assault, did not hear any unusual noises. After reading one of the fliers posted by Safety and Security alerting students, though, she cancelled her early morning run and returned inside.

She now informs her neighbors of where she will be running and her expected return time.

Out of town Friday night, Matt Levine '02 said, "I've always thought that Dartmouth was a very safe place ... this really doesn't change that image. It was largely the action of one person who just lost it. I still have faith in the general decency of people here."

Streeter residents were reassured by the sight of a Hanover Police patrol car parked in front of the Gold Coast residences later in the weekend.

Student Assembly President Molly Stutzman '02 sent out a campus-wide e-mail on Saturday informing students of the attacks and potentially dangerous situation.

Stutzman learned about the Streeter assault through BlitzMail forwards late Saturday afternoon.

"It didn't seem like the administration would be on Blitz" during the weekend, Stutzman said, "and we felt that we were in the best position to tell students about the attacks, to alert them ... we thought that it would be important."

Students agreed that the official administrative BlitzMail message sent out yesterday by Dean of the College James Larimore was too late to be effective.

Valverde said, "The Blitz shouldn't have come this late."

"I think there was tension about how much information to release," added Levine.

Larimore was unavailable for comment yesterday.