Archive for Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Suspect sought following attack of Baker students

March 8, 2000

A Baker University freshman was attacked Monday night while she was jogging in the 900 block of Lincoln, a neighborhood of picture-book houses.

Baldwin City Police said the victim, who requested her name not be released, was able to escape the attacker and run for help. She was not seriously injured.

Sgt. Colleen Larson said the Baker student was jogging in the dark neighborhood, listening to a walk-man, when she was attacked from behind about 9:45 p.m. Larson said the victim and her assailant fought and she was able to break free. She ran less than a block away to the Kappa Sigma fraternity house at Eighth and Monroe, where her boyfriend lives, to call the police.

Larson said the victim was able to give a "slight description." She said her assailant was a white male, possibly with a darker complexion, but not black. He is about 6-foot tall, stocky and has a high-pitched voice. She said he was young, possibly high school or college age. Larson said the assailant should also have scratches on his face, sustained during the fight.

The victim said she heard a car start as she ran away, but did not know if her assailant escaped in a vehicle or on foot.

Larson said the police department is calling on the University of Kansas Police Department and other agencies to come up with a sketch of the suspect and to compare the incident to any similar reports at area colleges.

Baker University officials took immediate action Monday night following the incident, with the safety of students in mind. Sororities and residence halls were notified the same night. On Tuesday morning, a campus-wide e-mail was sent to students, faculty and staff explaining what had happened and giving safety tips. Campus security is provided 24 hours a day, and more security was added Tuesday.

"We felt like it was important to get the message out right away," said John Fuller, Baker spokesman. "I don't want there to be a student on this campus that doesn't know they need to be careful in the coming days."

Some of the tips offered by Baker were:

- If you are out at night, go with a friend. A small group is best, no matter how short your journey.

- Stay in well-lit and populated areas.

- Avoid using headphones while walking or jogging, as it is important to be aware of your surroundings.

- If you see a suspicious person, report it immediately to the local police or campus security.

Larson shared similar information. She also said when walking or jogging, let people know your path and how long you plan to be gone.

Baker University does not offer a self-defense course. However, residence hall staff receive annual safety training, which is passed along to students living on campus.

Even in the aftermath of the attack, Fuller said students or the community should not think that Baldwin is not a safe place to live. The most similar incident he can recall happened several years ago, when a couple of female students were approached by a person, but not attacked.

"I don't think it sends a message that Baldwin is not safe," Fuller said. "It sends a message that we need to be careful. I think Baldwin is a safe place, but there is no perfect place. There is no zero-crime area."

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