Sexual Assault in Women’s Bathroom

On July 1, 2009 the University of California, Irvine Police Department received a call at approximately 2:50 p.m., reporting that a female was assaulted in the women’s bathroom of Information and Computer Science II.

The suspect’s description was reported as a Hispanic male between the ages of 25 and 30 years old, standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall. He was described to have been wearing a black hat, black shirt and blue jeans.

The suspect was hiding in a stall, and grabbed the victim while she was washing her hands. Fortunately, the victim was successful in fighting off the suspect who, in turn, fled the scene. It is unknown in which direction he fled. Police thoroughly checked the area but were unable to locate the suspect.

Sexual assaults have also previously occurred on other parts of the campus. On September 28, 2008, a female student was sexually assaulted by a male assailant when she walked near the Mesa Court parking structure. He approached her from behind and threatened her with an unknown sharp object. The assailant, last seen fleeing the scene by foot, was never caught.

While these kinds of situations are difficult to avoid, especially considering the recent incident that occurred during the afternoon in a commonly used public facility, Sergeant Steve Monsanto of the UC Irvine Police Department still recommends that students be careful not to take a false sense of security just because they live in a safe area.

Another tip would be to take precautions such as walking with friends at night. If you find yourself having to walk alone at night, UCI Police provides a Community Service Officers (CSO) Safety Escort program that offers free service to community members as a safe alternative. The service is available seven days a week covering main campus, all campus housing areas, north campus and even the University Town Center apartments.

However, if you find yourself caught in such a situation, Monsanto advises that it would be best not to confront the person one-on-one. It would be better to outrun the assailant.

While UCI may appear to be an open campus, it is actually a private property owned by the UC Regents that has limited access. The rules and regulations in regards to who is granted access to the campus is detailed on the Web site of the Legislative Counsel for the State of California under Penalty Code 626.6. (a). “If a person who is not a student, officer or employee of a college or university … enters a campus or facility, and it reasonably appears to the chief administrative officer of the campus … that the person is committing any act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the campus or facility … the chief administrative officer or his or her designee may direct the person to leave the campus or facility,” it stated.

Another service offered to the community is a self-defense class by Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.). Classes are free and participants are guaranteed a lifetime return and practice at any location the R.A.D. program is offered. To locate a program near you, visit http://www.rad-systems.com/programs.html.

Stephanie Vatz contributed to this article.