September 14, 2004

Female Student Assaulted

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A female student was sexually assaulted early Sunday morning in her apartment on College Ave., according to the Ithaca Police Department. The incident comes after a year-long string of trespasses that have left the Collegetown community shaken by a man now known as the Creeper.

“At five in the morning, [she] woke to find a man — she thinks, she’s not sure it was a man — leaving her room. She was wearing a thong, and she found it had been snipped. She also found liquid on her vaginal area,” said Police Chief Lauren Signer.

She reported the incident between 10 and 15 minutes later.

“I don’t want to blame the victim, but why do people feel the need to have a house meeting before calling the police? Delays create delays,” Signer said.

Signer emphasized that “there is not a lot of evidence. We don’t like to jump to conclusions.” The police are still unsure as to whether or not the Creeper is the perpetrator.

“I’m not saying it is; I’m not saying it isn’t,” she said.

Many have, however, voiced concerns in the past year that the Creeper could turn violent at any moment.

“A peeping tom should not be treated lightly. He should be considered a prowler, and with a prowler, you don’t know if he’s going to become a burglar, a rapist or a home invader. I would not minimize the situation,” said Deputy Chief Thomas N. Graziani.

Signer added that the police are planning a response to the assault, but “it’s important that anyone with a similar experience, or if something happened, report it. You’re the eyes and ears in the community,” she said.

She called the case a “high priority.”

Members of the Ithaca and Cornell communities are also working toward an arrest.

“We are deeply saddened, disturbed and angered. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. We will work to ensure collaboration between the Cornell community and Ithaca Police to bring the prowler to justice and make the community more safe,” said Aldermen Mike Taylor ’05 (D-4th Ward) and Gayraud Townsend ’05 (D-4th Ward) in a statement.

In the meantime, Signer encouraged Collegetown residents to lock their doors, get good lighting, have their landlords install motion detector lights and clear brush away so that there is nowhere for people to hide.

People with information can call the IPD switchboard at 272-3245.

“If in doubt, call. We have to do this together,” Signer said.

Archived article by Sun Staff