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Mayflower assault reported

BY REGINA ZILBERMINTS | MARCH 9, 2009 7:27 AM

Authorities are searching for a man who reportedly sexually assaulted a female UI student in Mayflower early Sunday morning.

According to a joint e-mail from University Housing and UI police, an unidentified male followed a female resident into the first-floor bathroom, where he held her against her will. She was eventually able to escape.

Police received the report of the alleged incident around 2 a.m., states the e-mail, which was sent Sunday morning to all students living in campus residence halls. It was not clear who filed the report. UI police Lt. Mike Smith said he couldn’t comment.

University Housing Director Von Stange said this was the first time in a while that Residence Life officials have sent out this type of e-mail to students — something they do any time there is an assault involving an unidentified perpetrator.

“We want to express our sympathy and find whoever did this and hold him responsible,” UI spokesman Steve Parrott said, adding anyone who has information should come forward. “Any help we can get to arrest this person, we would appreciate.”

The reported residence-hall sexual assault isn’t the first in the last couple years. A sexual assault reportedly occurred in Mayflower in October 2007, and two former Hawkeye football players are accused of sexually assaulting a former UI student-athlete in a Hillcrest dorm in November 2007. A woman also reported being assaulted in her Quadrangle dorm in March 2008.

The state Board of Regents approved new sexual-assault policies in December after an investigation of the university’s handling of the Hillcrest case.

Among the changes was the addition of the sexual-misconduct response coordinator position, filled by Monique DiCarlo.

Any time a person alleges violation of university policy, including accusing faculty, staff, or a student, she receives the complaint, DiCarlo said.

In addition to reminding students of ongoing security measures, such as locking doors and not letting strangers into the residence halls, Stange said the biggest additional precaution after this incident is making students aware.

In 2008, the Rape-Victim Advocacy Program received 79 calls known to be UI related. Calls from UI students made up 77 of those. Thirteen assaults occurred on campus that year, according to reports. UI police statistics show three reports of sexual abuse in 2008.

DiCarlo said this type of incident is a “fairly common crime,” though many may not realize it.

“We should be aware that this can happen anytime,” she said. “And most sexual misconduct situations go unreported.”

The alleged assailant is described as a white male with brown hair, approximately 5-8. He was wearing a red shirt and blue jeans, officials said.


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