Investigators pursue 'strong leads'

by John Teti | 11/15/01 6:00am

Authorities "have some strong leads" and are "definitely making progress" in the case of two assaults on female students that took place on campus last Saturday morning, according to Lauren Cummings '72, the sergeant-in-charge of the investigation for Safety and Security.

"Both I and the Hanover Police are working steadily on the case," Cummings said.

Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone confirmed this, saying that the investigation -- headed by Lt. Francis Moran of the Department's detective division -- is "still in the process of interviewing the original witnesses."

Giaccone said that when witnesses are re-interviewed, the police are usually "going over asked questions, past ground" to see if the witnesses can remember anything new.

Additionally, "a couple of new witnesses have come forward" since the investigation began, the police chief said.

"We're still progressing. We haven't exhausted our investigative leads yet."

The Department is working on a sketch of the perpetrator, but Giaccone was unsure when it would be released. "At this point, we have no solid suspects," he said. "We're still pursuing some leads."

Witnesses interviewed by The Dartmouth have described the assailant as an African-American man, about six feet tall with a slender build.

Eyewitness accounts have also revealed that the man was wearing a suit and tie, prompting the police to question students at Delta Delta Delta sorority and Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity -- both houses held formal events Friday night.

Tri-Kap Vice President Joe Simeone '02 said, "An officer stopped by and asked a couple of questions" shortly after the incidents. "It was pretty informal," he added.

"They were just trying to establish whether any of the people at the formal matched the description, and if we knew anything" about the attacks, he said, adding that nobody in attendance fit the profile.

Tri-Delt had a similar experience, according to that house's president, Ashley Frechette '02. "They were asking about dates -- wanted to make sure that nobody's date matches [the description]."

The victim in the attack at the Lodge, who spoke to The Dartmouth on condition of anonymity, said that she has spoken with the Hanover Police "a number of times," but declined to give details of the questioning.

She said that she was cooperating with the police and was confident that the investigation was progressing smoothly -- "I think they're handling it well."

The College's response also received high marks from the student, who said that soon after the attacks, College officials offered counseling services and "a lot of deans got in contact with me."

"They have been really helpful," the student said.

She is one of two Dartmouth women who were assaulted in the early morning of Nov. 10.

The first attack occurred at the Lodge residence hall at about 2:00 a.m. An unidentified man grabbed the victim near the front door and pinned her to the ground. A sophomore who was visiting a friend came out into the hallway to investigate and pulled the attacker away.

Approximately two hours later, another female student was grabbed outside the Streeter residence hall. She was able to break free.

Larimore said that there were "very strong similarities in the descriptions given" after the two incidents, so the perpetrator was likely the same in both attacks.