Campus Police arrested the suspect of a sexual battery incident that took place on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
University Police sent out a warning around 12:30 p.m. to inform the campus of the incident and ask for any assistance in identifying the suspect.
According to the crime bulletin, at about 8:15 a.m., the suspect, described as a “male Hispanic, 18-20 year old,” approached a female student walking on Camphor Lane. After asking if she was ticklish he forcibly grabbed her, then walked away toward Building 97.
The bulletin further described him as “light-skinned, black short hair, medium height and skinny build. He was wearing a gray long sleeve T-shirt and dark jeans.”
University Police Chief Dario Robinson sent out another email the day of the incident, around 8:30 p.m., informing the campus that the suspect had been arrested.
After the initial email was sent out, University Police received several phone calls and reports of similar incidents.
Second-year communication student Madison Thomas recognized the description of the suspect in the email and reported to campus police a similar situation that occurred the week prior.
Thomas reported that she got on a shuttle going from parking lot B to the Marketplace early on Jan. 30. A young man with the same description as the suspect got up and sat next to her. After grabbing her hand he asked, “Are you ticklish?”
“He kept saying things like that and I would try and pull my hand away but he would grab it again and like squeeze it saying, ‘Does this hurt?’ and ‘Let me see the way your fingers move,’” Thomas said. “This kid was definitely not all there. I don’t know if he knew what he was doing was wrong or weird, so it made it kind of hard to say stop.”
Ruth Olivares, a fourth-year communication and journalism student, told a remarkably similar story. Getting onto the shuttle near Building 1, the suspect sat next to her and after introducing himself, he shook her hand. “But he didn’t let go … and he started caressing it,” Olivares said. “I tried to pull my hand away but he was forceful and kept holding it.”
Olivares, who serves as copy editor for The Poly Post, also mentioned the suspect’s social awkwardness that the other victims referred to.
“The police said that they had a lot of phone calls describing the exact same thing,” Thomas said.
Christina Manuel, a third-year communication and journalism student, reported her uncomfortable encounter with the suspect.
Reaching out to introduce himself, the suspect “forcefully took” her hand and held tightly onto her wrist while using the other hand to stroke her palm.
Manuel said the suspect introduced himself as a freshman business student. The Poly Post was unable to verify this by publication deadline.
“He kept asking if I was ticklish,” Manuel said. “I kept saying, ‘No, I’m not,’ but he just kept emphasizing ‘Are you sure you’re not ticklish?’” All the while, stroking her hand to get a reaction.
“What about with a pencil?” he asked. “Are you ticklish with a pencil?”
Manuel didn’t report the incident to University Police until after the description in the first email was sent out. Manuel is a contributor and former staff writer for The Poly Post.
Police caught the perpetrator Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. and he was brought to a local city jail.
Robinson thanked the campus community in the second announcement for its timely responses, which assisted in the apprehension of the suspect.
University Police is asking for any other victims or witnesses to come forward with more information pertaining to this case or suspect.
Any information should be directed to Detective Simpson, who can be reached at (909) 869-2042.
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