Castleton State officials urge caution after sex assaults

CASTLETON Vt.

Castleton State College security officers are stepping up patrols and staffing in the wake of two reports of sexual assault on the campus.

Castleton Director of Public Safety Bob Godlewski said at a campus meeting Tuesday that officers are conducting 24-hour patrols and they have been watching an off-campus parking lot.

And he said a college program that provides security escorts to students on campus has been requested and used more in the past week than over the past couple of years combined.

About 225 people attended the meeting that came after reports of two “non-acquaintance” sexual assaults within a week of each other, most recently Sept. 12.

“We have no reason to believe they are similar, or by the same person, or not,” said Dean of Students Gregory Stone. “We do not know who the perpetrator is, or whether they come from the college community, the greater community, or someplace else.”

Castleton police said they were investigating, but it was difficult because neither of the victims had filed a formal complaint.

“The victim has the absolute right not to report that he or she has been the victim of a sexual assault. And the police respect that right,” said Castleton Police Detective Gary Boutin. “Neither one of the reported victims (has) provided any official statement detailing what occurred, where it occurred, when it occurred.”

Some of the ideas suggested at Tuesday’s meeting to protect students included the use of pepper spray, stepped-up patrols, parking lot surveillance cameras and a volunteer “campus watch” effort.

Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/

– Associated Press



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