April 08, 2020

UMaine police investigate an alleged assault

ORONO – The University of Maine Department of Public Safety is investigating an alleged assault that occurred around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.

According to UM police, a male suspect grabbed a female student and attempted to assault her outside of Shibles Hall on the Beddington Road side of the building facing Stevens Hall, but she was able to flee. The woman was walking from the south side of campus to her residence hall on the north side. She did not require medical attention and reported the incident to UM police the morning of Oct. 16.

The suspect was described as a white male 22 to 29 years of age, about 6 feet tall, of slim to medium build, with short brown hair and slight facial hair. He last was seen wearing a green Carhartt-type jacket and bluejeans.

There is street lighting between Shibles and Stevens halls, but it was an October night and there were lots of shadows, University of Maine Public Safety Chief Noel March said. There are well-lighted pedestrian corridors that criss-cross campus too, he said.

According to March, the female was not close to one of the 30 emergency call boxes on campus, but a few are located in the area near Jeness Hall, the Maine Center for the Arts and Stevens Hall.

“It is important to point out that being attacked by a stranger is an extremely rare and unusual event,” March said.

Programs available on campus encourage safety, including a program called Rape Aggression Defense, self-defense courses provided every year by certified instructors in the UM Department of Public Safety.

Students also can call 581-WALK, a free service where other students walk with them across campus.

“UMaine is a very safe school. Our secret weapon is the 15,000 people on campus that keep an eye on each other,” said March. “The campus police are calling on their community to be particularly alert at this time.”

Everyone is encouraged to keep their eyes and ears open, share thoughts and information even if it’s “nothing.”

Anyone who may have information about or was in the area around the time of the attack is asked to contact UMaine police at 581-4040 or Detective Sgt. Christopher Gardner at 581-4048 or cgardner@maine.edu.

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