Warning issued after student reports sexual assault at Mass. university
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Warning issued after student reports sexual assault at Mass. university

A safety notice has been issued to students at Fitchburg State University after a female student reported to university police on Sunday that she had been sexually assaulted on campus.The incident reportedly took place between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the university’s library. The student described her assailant as a thin male, approximately 19 years old, 5-foot-5-inches tall, who spoke with an unknown accent. She reported to police that the male suspect approached her in the library and began a conversation with her before initiating physical contact that escalated into sexual assault.”It’s just frustrating that we have to worry about what’s going to happen even when we’re in the library when we just want to be studying,” said Kailey Norton, a senior. “At school, we’re supposed to feel safe,” said Laren Tilbury, a senior. “We shouldn’t have to fear for our lives and check behind us.”Initial investigation into the incident yielded reports from additional female students that they had been approached at other areas of the campus by a suspicious male with a similar physical description as the suspect in the incident in the library.”The safety of the campus community is paramount, and the university is working with public safety partners to locate the individual described in the reported assault on campus, and our community members will see a heightened police presence around these public locations while this investigation continues,” the university said in a statement to WCVB.The university is working with public safety partners in an attempt to locate the suspected individual and have increased police presence around public locations on campus.Fitchburg State University Police ask anyone with information about the individual or any potentially similar interactions to please contact them at 978-665-3111. Additional information about on-and-off-campus safety safety can be found on the university’s website.On Monday, Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus issued a statement to the campus and surrounding community:”Good afternoon. I am reaching out to you today to follow up on the troubling incident reported on campus last week. I understand the concerns these issues have created for all members of our community, and I want to assure all of you that we are committed to the safety of our campus.”The assault reported in our campus library was profoundly disturbing. Please know a comprehensive investigation remains very active, with our University Police working in close collaboration with other public safety agencies. Although there are details we cannot share with the public out of concern for compromising that investigation, be assured that all avenues are being pursued. We are also attending to the well-being of the student who made this report, to whom I am grateful for stepping forward.”I am aware of concerns about public access to the campus in light of this incident. Please understand that Fitchburg State is a public institution, with resources that have always been meant to be accessible to members of the wider community. While this alarming incident has raised understandable concerns, it is important to remember how rare such instances are. A look at our annual security report illustrates the safety of our campus community.”In light of recent incidents, however, I want to assure members of the campus that they will see a heightened police presence in the coming days, and I ask our community members to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. As we have indicated in our safety notices, the University Police website includes valuable information on staying safe on (and off) campus. We will also work with our campus partners on other ways we may support each other during this challenging time, including Counseling Services, who will be sharing information with the campus.”We will continue to keep you informed about any developments we may share about the ongoing investigation. Working together, we create a safer community. Thank you.”

A safety notice has been issued to students at Fitchburg State University after a female student reported to university police on Sunday that she had been sexually assaulted on campus.

The incident reportedly took place between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the university’s library. The student described her assailant as a thin male, approximately 19 years old, 5-foot-5-inches tall, who spoke with an unknown accent. She reported to police that the male suspect approached her in the library and began a conversation with her before initiating physical contact that escalated into sexual assault.

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“It’s just frustrating that we have to worry about what’s going to happen even when we’re in the library when we just want to be studying,” said Kailey Norton, a senior.

“At school, we’re supposed to feel safe,” said Laren Tilbury, a senior. “We shouldn’t have to fear for our lives and check behind us.”

Initial investigation into the incident yielded reports from additional female students that they had been approached at other areas of the campus by a suspicious male with a similar physical description as the suspect in the incident in the library.

“The safety of the campus community is paramount, and the university is working with public safety partners to locate the individual described in the reported assault on campus, and our community members will see a heightened police presence around these public locations while this investigation continues,” the university said in a statement to WCVB.

The university is working with public safety partners in an attempt to locate the suspected individual and have increased police presence around public locations on campus.

Fitchburg State University Police ask anyone with information about the individual or any potentially similar interactions to please contact them at 978-665-3111. Additional information about on-and-off-campus safety safety can be found on the university’s website.


On Monday, Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus issued a statement to the campus and surrounding community:

“Good afternoon. I am reaching out to you today to follow up on the troubling incident reported on campus last week. I understand the concerns these issues have created for all members of our community, and I want to assure all of you that we are committed to the safety of our campus.

“The assault reported in our campus library was profoundly disturbing. Please know a comprehensive investigation remains very active, with our University Police working in close collaboration with other public safety agencies. Although there are details we cannot share with the public out of concern for compromising that investigation, be assured that all avenues are being pursued. We are also attending to the well-being of the student who made this report, to whom I am grateful for stepping forward.

“I am aware of concerns about public access to the campus in light of this incident. Please understand that Fitchburg State is a public institution, with resources that have always been meant to be accessible to members of the wider community. While this alarming incident has raised understandable concerns, it is important to remember how rare such instances are. A look at our annual security report illustrates the safety of our campus community.

“In light of recent incidents, however, I want to assure members of the campus that they will see a heightened police presence in the coming days, and I ask our community members to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. As we have indicated in our safety notices, the University Police website includes valuable information on staying safe on (and off) campus. We will also work with our campus partners on other ways we may support each other during this challenging time, including Counseling Services, who will be sharing information with the campus.

“We will continue to keep you informed about any developments we may share about the ongoing investigation. Working together, we create a safer community. Thank you.”

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