UPD not certain of suspect in assault case

Spinnaker

Police are still searching for a suspect involved in an on-campus sexual assault of a UNF student Oct. 3.

The suspect is being described by UPD as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall. UPD is unsure if the man has any ties to the university and said any physical evidence is now lost since the victim didn’t report the incident until Oct. 29, UPD Chief Mark Foxworth said.

“She said she was afraid,” Foxworth said. “It’s not unusual for a sex crimes victim to delay reporting the incident. Sometimes they are afraid, feel people will look down on them or feel responsible. While the delayed reporting has definitely hampered the investigation, it’s totally understandable.”

UPD hasn’t conducted a sketch of the suspect but has put together several photos of possible suspects – with no possible leads so far, Foxworth said.

UPD is now hoping someone from the public will come in with any new information or the victim will be able to identify the man through the photo spreads, he said.

The suspect came to the woman’s dorm in the Cove around 4 p.m. and said he was there to get something from her roommate’s desk.

The victim allowed the man into the room, pointed out the desk, and while her back was turned, the suspect forced her to the floor and sexually assaulted her, according to the police report.

UPD believes the suspect was unarmed when he committed the assault.

“What makes this kind of disturbing for us is while we’ve had other sexual assaults on campus, it’s usually an acquaintance situation,” Foxworth said. “When we’re having one with a complete stranger, it bothers us. Nobody knows who this guy is.”

This was the first campus sexual assault involving a stranger since the late 1980s, he said.

Foxworth believes while UNF is a trusting campus, the student was too trusting in this instance, and dorm residents should never open the door for a stranger, he said.

Even though some dorms require keys or a check in with a desk attendant, it’s not difficult for an outsider with ulterior motives to gain entrance, especially in some of the older buildings, Foxworth said.

“I think it’s a wake-up call for us,” Foxworth said. “We need to be reminded there’s a larger community around us, and we’re more accessible to the outside world. What we’ve seen from a police department standpoint is more and more people on campus that don’t have business here.”

UNF offers several different counseling methods for anyone involved in a sex crime or
other trauma-related crime, said Sheila Spivey, UNF victim’s advocate, who responded to the scene to counsel the victim.

“Many times the victim will think people won’t believe them or that they somehow caused the incident to occur,” Spivey said. “The victim of a sexual assault can also often become hyper-vigilant and have issues of depression. There are lots of different effects younger people can feel.”

If you have any information regarding the assault, contact UPD at 620-2801.

E-mail Josh Salman at [email protected]