A female Georgetown student was groped last week while walking alone near campus, according to law enforcement officials.
The woman was walking in the 3100 block of O Street at about 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 21 when an unidentified male approached her from behind, a Metropolitan Police Department incident report said. The man grabbed her before fleeing eastbound on O Street.
According to Dave Morrell, vice president for university safety, the woman called the Department of Public Safety about 30 minutes after the incident and MPD and DPS officers were dispatched to her home.
Although the student said Thursday that she was pleased with the quick police response, she said MPD officers were sometimes insensitive as they questioned her. THE HOYA does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes.
“There were at least 10 officers there and I was happy to see that they sent out patrols immediately and erred on the side of too many rather than too few police officers,” she said. “They asked me a lot of questions many times over. Some of the questions were difficult to answer and some of the officers were not very sensitive in the way they asked them.”
Officers canvassed the area but could not locate the suspect, identified as a white male with brown hair in his early 20s.
Morrell said that he believes the incident was isolated and said the university would be taking action in the area to protect students. He also said that students should take proactive steps to keep themselves safe.
“We’re working closely with MPD and increasing patrols,” he said. “I would say that students should always walk in groups and be aware of their surroundings. The victim in this case was by herself.”
Although university Sexual Assault and Health issues coordinator Shannon Hunnicutt would not discuss specifics of the case, she did say that her office would be working to provide help to the student victim if she needed it.
“We can provide victims with information in all of the specific realms where they might need help,” Hunnicutt said. “We can talk about counseling options, law enforcement options and the criminal justice system if they need help.”
For her part, the student is urging others to be smart and stay safe on the streets near the main campus.
“We all know we shouldn’t walk alone at night, that we should be aware of our surroundings and shouldn’t talk our cell phones while walking alone, that we should just wait for the bus and pay a little extra,” she said. “But we’re students. We’re impatient, invincible and don’t have a lot of money. So we say, `I’ll do this just this one time.'”
She also said that it is important for victims to report crime immediately.
“A friend of mine made me call and though dealing with lots of police and lots of questioning is overwhelming, I’m glad I called,” she said. “While they may never catch the guy, reporting incidents is the first step in not letting people get away with them.”