By Cassandra Sottile
Elm Staff Writer
On Saturday, Sept. 2 at 2 a.m., a female Washington College student was grabbed from behind by an unknown male while she was on her way to her home from O’Connor’s Pub and Restaurant on High Street. The suspect approached on a bike.
Director of Public Safety Gerald Roderick said, “Somewhere within the vicinity of High Street and the cemetery, she observed an unknown male on bike. When he got off the bike, he grabbed her and was attempting to unbutton her pants when she broke away and ran back to her residence.”
The student, accompanied by two of her friends, immediately filed a report with the Chestertown Police Department.
“At this point, the CPD are handling the investigation. [They] are checking the security cameras from businesses in the area to see if there are any identifiers, or people who are able to identify the suspect,” Roderick said.
Lt. John Dolgos of the CPD said the incident is being handled as an assault case.
“In the state of Maryland, there are two degrees of assault. However, the case can be considered a fourth degree sexual offense [minor touching] case,” he said.
While the CPD investigate and try to identify the suspect, which will take a couple of days, students are encouraged to use safety measures in place, especially Safe Ride, according to Roderick.
Both Lt. Dolgos and Roderick stressed student safety as their highest concern.
“Unfortunately, there are some dangerous people in Chestertown. Students need to be aware of their surroundings. If a student is ever in a vulnerable position, he or she can call Public Safety and we will come down and pick them up,” Roderick said.
Students also have the LiveSafe app at their disposal, which has a feature that allows friends to track each other’s locations. LiveSafe has a feature that enables students to share information about suspicious persons and behavior with Public Safety anonymously.
“The usage of LiveSafe has increased since last year, and I believe that is for the better, keeping students safe. I encourage students to continue to share with us so we are able to respond,” he said. “I always stress that students are my eyes and ears out there. They are the ones who know if someone belongs on campus or not, or if someone is a member of the College.”
Lt. Dolgos emphasized security measures for WC students.
“Simple safety plans help save students. Never walk alone, and if you have to, be on your cellphone talking with someone,” he said. “Try to always walk in groups when going out. Plan to have a designated driver [DD]. Most importantly, ensure that no one is left behind. If a group of students all go out, make sure everyone comes back together.”