Alledged Sex Offender Gets Arrested On Campus
Santa Monica City and College Police joined forces to arrest a suspect in connection with a sexual assault that took place in the SMC library. The alleged victim was a student.
The suspect was led out of the library in handcuffs and into the back of a Santa Monica Police Department patrol car on Pearl Street while onlookers gathered trying to catch a glimpse of the man they had seen in police bulletins posted all over campus.
The arrest stems from an attack that occurred Saturday, April 4, at 4:30 p.m., when a female student was allegedly sexually assaulted in the campus library while leaving the first floor women's restroom. The assailant grabbed the victim and trapped her in an area that separates the restrooms from the main atrium, which kept them out of the sight of other patrons and staff, according to a bulletin issued Monday.
Police are withholding the details of the attack due to their ongoing investigation. However, Sgt. Ray Bottenfield of the SMC Police Department said this case was "a full on attack." The attacker fled the scene after being startled by a routine announcement over the library intercom.
On Saturday, the victim called the Santa Monica Police Department two hours after the incident occurred and made the report, according to authorities. The police posted bulletins throughout the school containing a sketch of the suspect and vital information concerning the incident.
The arrest came quietly as the suspect, who was believed to frequent the library prior to the attack, returned to the scene of the crime only three days laterts. A patron who had witnessed the man attempting to flirt with the victim on the day of the attack identified him and called Santa Monica police who in turn informed college officers. College police responded in less than one minute. Santa Monica College Police Chief Vasquez tactically positioned officers at each of the exits while another entered the library and took the man into custody. The victim was called and confirmed the man in custody as the attacker.
According to Darrell Lowe, lieutenant in charge of the SMPD Crimes Against Persons Section, the suspect is a Caucasian male in his early to mid-twenties with brown eyes and medium-length, dark, wavy hair, standing 5 feet 10 inches and weighing approximately 175 pounds. "[The suspect] stated he was born in 1969, but then said he was born in 1989, so we are uncertain of his exact age at this time," said Lowe.
Police have yet to confirm the suspect's identify.
"The suspect is being charged with sexual battery or attempted rape for this shocking and appalling attack. He has refused to cooperate with the investigation at this point but we are confident that we have our man," said Lowe. Collaborative efforts between SMCPD and SMPD made this arrest happen. We couldn't have done it without SMCPD."
"This is the first sexual assault to ever occur on the SMC campus," said Bottenfield.
Although being a victim of sexual assault on campus is unlikely, Bottenfield recommends that anyone who is sexually assaulted do the following:
1.Do anything and everything you can to make as much noise and draw as much attention as possible.
2.Fight back. Kick and punch, but if you feel you are unable to do so, become dead weight.
3.Always use the "buddy system." Attacks are far more common on individual people than groups.
4.Carry a whistle. Use it at the first sign of trouble.
5.Take self-defense classes.
6.Carry pepper spray. (You must be 18 or older to carry it legally in California.)
"The fact of the matter is; as much as we try, we can't be everywhere at once, be aware. If [the victim] would have yelled out, the suspect would have been in custody right away," Bottenfield said.
The victim delayed reporting the crime, which could have been detrimental to the case had the suspect not returned to the scene, Bottenfield said.
Many victims of sexual assaults fail to report the crime immediately or altogether for several reasons. Some victims think they are responsible for the attack or have a fear of embarrassment that their information will become available to the public. Victims are never responsible for an attack regardless of the situation and California Penal Code 293 assures that anyone who reports a sexual assault will be guaranteed confidentiality.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 60 percent of all sexual assaults are never reported to the police which makes it impossible to catch the perpetrator and more importantly, allows habitual or repeat offenders to continue their assaults without being arrested. "Reporting a crime is paramount to stopping future occurrences," said Bottenfield.
Anyone that is a victim of sexual assault can reach the SMCPD watch command at (310) 458-8427.