A female Georgetown student was assaulted while walking alone on the 3300 block of N Street around 2:44 a.m on Friday, April 21.
The Metropolitan Police Department arrested the suspect after a SafeRides van driver spotted the suspect and after GUPD conducted a search for the suspect after the student contacted police.
MPD charged the suspect, 22-year-old Tejeda Hernandez-Chrispin, with assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual assault after being apprehended and the suspect remains in police custody.
The incident follows an event held last Wednesday by the Sexual Misconduct Task Force, a team consisting of students, faculty and staff working on recommendations to address sexual misconduct on campus, to address the 2016 Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey’s findings and recommendations to expand mandatory sexual assault education and increase student education on effective bystander intervention.
MPD officers apprehended and arrested a suspect for third-degree sexual assault on Sept. 18. That arrest came after a series of four sexual assaults in the Georgetown area reported between Aug. 3 and Sept. 12.
GUPD Chief Jay Gruber said students need to be aware of resources that can help reduce the risk of off-campus assaults.
“Students need to be acutely aware that they live in a major metropolitan city and need to take a stake in their own security when they are on, and especially off campus,” Gruber said in an interview with The Hoya. “Students should take advantage of resources such as LiveSafe, SafeRides, student guard safety escort program, Uber and walk in groups in well-lit areas.”
Students who have experienced harassment or assault say it is that important attitudes regarding sexual assault on campus improve so victims speak up and have a strong support system from fellow students and faculty.
Maria-Jose Nebreda (MSB ’19) said she experienced a similar incident in October in which bystanders chose not to intervene in the case of an assault.
Nebreda said she had been walking alone at night from Booeymonger restaurant to LXR Hall when several men in a car shouted sexual insults and threatened to rape her.
When she saw a group of male Georgetown students, she walked in their direction, expecting them to help her out of the situation.
“Before I could reach them, the men in the car sped up to them and said, ‘Turn around and wave at this girl, we called her sexy and she called us sexist,’” Nebreda said. “And before I knew it I had 20 Georgetown boys laughing and waving at me, alongside the men who had assaulted me, leaving me no choice but to continue walking by myself while the car sped back to me and assaulted me my whole way back.”
Olivia Hinerfeld (SFS ’17), co-chair of the Sexual Misconduct Task Force, said education for witnesses of sexual assault must increase to improve knowledge of how to intervene on or off campus.
The Hoya previously reported Oct. 28 that Georgetown Health Education Services purchased “Bringing in the Bystander,” an education curriculum focused on educating witnesses on what to do in the case of a sexual assault in response to the release of the university’s Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey on June 16.
Former President Barack Obama endorsed the program in a 2014 report from the White House’s Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and again in 2017 and it is now mandatory for three leaders of every university-recognized student group to participate in training.
However, Hinerfeld said she believes information on bystander intervention needs to be available to all students.
“The task force is recommending that all students receive the ‘Bringing in the Bystander’ training in their freshman year going forward,” Hinerfeld said. “We are recommending the exploration of a mandatory first-year course — that could be one way to reach all students — and we’re also looking at incorporating it into NSO. Hopefully that kind of action can make a difference in these cases.”
Hinerfeld noted the importance of GUPD’s role in providing support for the victim and preventing the perpetrator from assaulting yet another student.
“In terms of this incident, I think it shows the importance of having well-trained GUPD staff, an officer having identified the perpetrator of Friday’s assault. We are recommending further training for GUPD to ensure they are informed in their approach and have the skills to deal with survivors of sexual assault,” Hinerfeld said.