USF police increase patrols after attacks

TAMPA - The first report of sexual battery came from Kappa Hall on September 29, when an unknown white man aged 18-22 attacked a female student living in the dorm.

Sunday, just three weeks later, police heard of a second report from Epsilon Hall, in the same dormitory compound.  This time, they believe the suspect and female student knew each other, though they have not charged anyone.

Police don't believe the incidents are related, and that makes students even more nervous.

"That's scary," said freshman Marissa Rickloff. "It's not just one single person that they're looking for, it's two separate sexual assaults."

Rickloff lives in Epsilon. She was unaware of the second incident because USF never sent out an alert, citing a relationship between the suspect and student.  Because of that, they only released date, time, and location to media.
 
Any other questions received the same answer at a Tuesday press conference.
 
"I can't really speak to that because it's part of the ongoing investigation," explained USF PD Lt. Charlotte Domingo.
 
Student chatter is making up for police silence.  Journalism student Chris Andrews took his camera to the dorms Tuesday morning to shoot a story about the crimes for campus television.

"I've heard it makes students feel worse because there are two people out there instead of just one," Andrews said.  "Something like this, they need to know.  They need to know that this is happening where they're living."
 
Police want students to remain vigilant, as they increase their patrols during the investigations, both inside and outside dormitories.
 
"We have seen a noticeable change in student behavior with regard to not allowing students or others to follow them in," said Dean of Housing Ana Hernandez.

Though two sexual battery reports in three weeks may sound alarming, campus officials claim such crime is actually on the decline.  They point to an increased willingness of victims to report crimes.
 
"I want students to always be cautious," said Nanci Newton, Director of USF's Center for Victim Advocacy. "I don't want them to be afraid."

Anyone who sees anything suspicious should call USF Police at (813) 974-2628.

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