Residence halls raided

Sarah McKenzie

Two female University students were sexually assaulted in the residence halls during winter quarter finals week, according to police reports.
University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson said the assaults are not related. The first assault took place early in the morning on March 13 at Sanford Hall. The other incident occurred late in the evening on March 14 at Bailey Hall.
No one has been charged in either case.
University Police arrested a 20-year-old male student March 15 for the assault at Bailey Hall. A woman living in the residence hall notified authorities that the man followed her into her boyfriend’s room and was “sexually aggressive with her.”
Detective Marianne Olson said charges are pending in Ramsey County against the man arrested at Bailey Hall. She said he is also a resident at the residence hall, but is not currently living there. The University generally suspends sexual assault suspects’ housing contracts for the duration of the investigation.
The student was booked at Ramsey County jail after University Police arrested him at the residence hall. He is an acquaintance of the woman he allegedly assaulted, Olson said.
Ralph Rickgarn, executive assistant for Housing and Residential Life, said the University will conduct an internal investigation into the assault.
Olson said she could not comment on details of the assault because it is an ongoing investigation. But she did say charges would be of the “lowest degree” if prosecutors pick up the case.
The second assault, which took place in Sanford Hall, is also currently under investigation by the University Police department. In that case, the victim reported the incident to police a few days after the assault occurred.
According to police reports, the suspect walked into the woman’s room shortly after 2 a.m. on March 13, assaulted her and then left. Additionally, police have classified the case as a burglary.
The incident is still under investigation, but no arrests have been made.
As part of standard policy, police referred both women to the Program Against Sexual Violence, Olson said. The center is located within Boynton Health Service.
Roberta Gibbons, assistant director of the program, said the staff serves as advocates for the victims.
Anonymity is protected, but Gibbons said staff members support victims who report sexual violence to the police.
She said the number of reported assaults on campus has gone up slightly in the past few years, typically hovering around 200 annually.
“We want this reported,” Gibbons said. “We point out the possible repercussions.”
The program offers a number of services for sexual assault victims including writing restraining orders, offering counseling sessions, and educating students about criminal and judicial proceedings.
Gibbons said in the case of an assault at a residence hall, program counselors can help victims find another place to live on campus.