Teen arrested in Rutgers University dorm room sex assault

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A teenager has been arrested in connection with a Rutgers University dorm room sex assault over the weekend that left students on edge.

It happened around 7:40 a.m. Sunday in Quad 2 on the Livingston College campus in Piscataway.

Police say the suspect gained entry into an unsecured dorm room and made unwanted sexual contact with the room's resident while the victim was sleeping.

When the resident woke up, the man exited the room and fled on foot.

Authorities said the suspect, a 17-year-old whose identity will not be released due to his age, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and burglary.

Students received an e-mail from school officials alerting them to the troubling incident, and many students said they are shocked by the fact someone got into the dorms.

"It's just really scary," one student said. "Like, I just double checked to make sure my doors were locked before leaving."

The suspect has not been identified, but students told Eyewitness News he was known to many but is not a student. Meanwhile, police patrols on campus were increased, with an officer stationed outside the dorms where the crime occurred.

"We're pretty concerned," another student said. "We've just been locking our door more. We're roommates, so we're just making sure we lock it always."

Students said they have to do a better job keeping themselves safe.

"Rutgers does the most that it can do for us, but we also have to do our part," student Allison Ward said. "Like locking our doors."

The Rutgers Police Department issued a reminder to the campus to secure points of entry to buildings and all work spaces when not in use and to not prop open exterior doors.

The university is also urging students to secure their doors and to ask for police escorts if they don't feel safe.

Here is the full text of the letter sent to students:

Attention Rutgers Community:

The Rutgers University Police Department is investigating a criminal sexual contact that occurred in Quad 2 on the Livingston Campus, located at 99 Road 3 in Piscataway, at approximately 7:40 AM on October 20, 2019.

In this incident, the victim who is affiliated states the perpetrator gained entry into an unsecured dorm room and made unwanted sexual contact with the resident of the room while the resident was sleeping. When the resident awoke the perpetrator immediately exited the room and fled from the area on foot. The victim was not physically injured during the encounter.

Description of the perpetrator is a 20 year old Hispanic or Indian Male, approximately 5'7", thin build with black hair, wearing glasses with a pink shirt with blue jeans.

The Rutgers University Police Department is actively investigating this incident and asks that anyone with information, or who may have been in the area at the time, contact the Rutgers Police Department Detective Bureau at 848-932-8025.

The Rutgers University Police Department reminds you that you can reduce your chances of being a crime victim by taking reasonable precautions, including:

- Secure points of entry to buildings and all work spaces when not in use;
- Remain alert and aware of people and circumstances around you;
- Do not prop open exterior doors;
- Immediately report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

The Rutgers University Police Department provides escorts to students, faculty, and staff upon request. The escorts provide our community with personalized service to their vehicles, campus residence, or the University's mass transit system. In order to request a security escort, we ask that an individual contact the police communications center at 732-932-7211.

For more crime prevention information please visit the Rutgers Public Safety website at https://ipo.rutgers.edu/publicsafety/nb-crime-tips

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