Unidentified male assaults two students

by John Teti | 11/12/01 6:00am

In another unsettling incidence of on-campus crime, police are investigating two assaults on female students that occurred early Saturday morning at the Lodge and Streeter residence halls.

Although Hanover Police officers confirmed that the matter is under investigation, they declined to give any details about their success so far in finding those responsible.

The first incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday when an unidentified man trailed a female Lodge resident down Lebanon Street as she returned from Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority.

After turning off Main Street, "I noticed someone walking behind me," said the student, who spoke to The Dartmouth on condition of anonymity. "Some guy who I'd never seen before."

Soon after the student reached the Lodge at its west front entrance, the man accosted her in the hallway. "He put his arm around me ... and pulled me down with him," she said.

The student tried to get rid of her attacker both verbally and physically, but she said, "he just didn't respond -- he didn't say anything. He just kept putting his arm around me."

Pat Dowling '04, who had been visiting a friend at the Lodge, was alarmed when he heard the commotion. "I heard voices, outside the room, of a guy and a girl. She basically said, 'Stop it. What are you doing?' so I immediately jumped up."

He emerged into the hallway to see a man "laying on top of her, holding her pretty tight, kind of kissing her." Dowling rolled the attacker off and pulled the student away from harm.

After making sure that the victim had sustained no injuries and was clear of danger, Dowling returned to the attacker and told him repeatedly to leave. "He kept asking me to shake his hand, and then he was going to leave. Finally I forced him out of the building and told him to get the fuck out."

The victim waited in her room until she was sure that the man had left the building, and at about 2:45 a.m., she notified Safety and Security of the incident. "I probably should have called while he was there," she said, albeit with the benefit of a day's distance from the events.

The victim stayed in a friend's room that night. The attack was especially disconcerting, she said, because "you usually think that students are pretty trustworthy." She suspected that the attacker was a student "just judging by the fact that he looked college-age."

According to the student, both Safety and Security and the Hanover Police arrived soon after she made an emergency call. The police asked her to relate what had happened and give a description of the attacker. They also had her look through the suddenly appropriate Dartmouth "Mugshots" book to see if she recognized any of the faces, which she didn't.

Dowling was less interested in reflecting on his heroism than wondering why he was the only one who came to the victim's aid. "I yelled at him for five minutes in the middle of the hallway, and nobody came out," he said.

"I was just really glad that I was there. I guess it was the right place and the right time for me to have been there."

Both the victim and Dowling described the perpetrator as an African-American male, approximately six feet tall, with a slight build.

There was little doubt that the man had been drinking heavily that night. "I could tell by the look in his eyes," the anonymous student said. As further evidence, she recalled that she had seen the same person urinating against a building on Main Street earlier.

"He was really drunk," Dowling said. "When I got him out of the building, I pushed him not terribly hard, and he lost his balance quickly and fell."

While the victim could only remember a gray wool coat, Dowling said that the attacker was wearing a suit, "as though he had been at a formal of some sort."

Apparently working off this information, police went to 8 School St. around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday to ask if anyone at that house's formal -- held Friday night -- matched the attacker's description.

They returned late Saturday night to confirm their information, when they spoke to 8 School St. resident Mel Broad '02. "We just thought about all the dates" at the formal, Broad said.

While there were about 40 people at the event, nobody fit the police description, according to Broad. "There was only one African-American male, and he was much shorter" than six feet, she said.

Delta Delta Delta sorority also held a formal on Friday night, and the officer told Broad that he was on the front steps of Tri-Delt when he received a call about the night's second incident.

This attack, which Safety and Security suspects was committed by the same person, occurred shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Saturday. According to College Proctor Bob McEwen, "the male came up behind the woman, put his arms around her, and she was tackled to the ground."

The victim screamed and then broke free from her attacker, McEwen said. A student in Streeter Hall heard the struggle and called Safety and Security.

In both incidents, Safety and Security was on the scene "within minutes," McEwen said.

Early rumors that the perpetrator had a ski mask covering his face during the second attack now appear to be false, but a Safety and Security crime alert states that he was wearing a knit cap in the Streeter incident.

While the attacks were obviously "traumatizing," McEwen said that neither victim sustained physical injuries.

The College Proctor was unable to comment on the police investigation, but he said that "it's just going to be a process that's going to be ongoing, and there are a lot of things that will happen in the next few days," such as "following up on interviews."

The Hanover Police Department declined to comment other than confirming that they are investigating the matter.