Cal State Fullerton Police Searching for Man in On-Campus Rape

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Cal State Fullerton police said Wednesday that the attack described below did not occur on campus; and the case has been handed over to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. An updated story is here.

Original story:

California State University Fullerton police on Tuesday said they were looking for a man in connection with an on-campus rape reported by a female student.

The attack happened at around midnight inside an elevator in the Nutwood parking structure, according to the university’s Police Department.

The St. Joseph Hospital in Orange called police at around 1 a.m., saying a Cal State Fullerton student reported that she’s been raped.

The victim said she was heading to her vehicle from the campus gym when she felt a presence behind her in an elevator at the parking structure, Capt. Scot Willey told reporters.  When she turned around, a man grabbed her by the neck, Wiley said.

The man raped her on the ground as the elevator went from the first to the fourth floor, the captain said.

The student was able to push away from the man, who did not say anything, Willey said. It’s unclear whether the attacker was also a student, according to police.

Willey said it’s not unusual for students to go to their cars in the later hours of the night.

“Victim is doing well, as well as can be. She’s with her family,” Willey said.

Detectives planned to look through surveillance footage from about 500 cameras around the campus. However, there are no cameras in the elevators or just outside of them, Wiley said.

They described the assailant as a 25-year-old white man about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 160 pounds. He has shoulder-length brown hair, a small mole near his right eye and light blue or green eyes, police said.

He was wearing a plain, navy blue t-shirt and black shorts, according to authorities. The man did not use any weapons, officials said.

Investigators, who were working on releasing a sketch at a later time, have already received some tips, Willey said.

“If seen, do not engage the suspect and dial/text 9-1-1,” police said in a tweet.

Willey said such an attack by a person unknown to the victim is uncommon at the university.

Authorities reported the incident less than a month after a retired university administrator was fatally stabbed by a co-worker on a campus parking lot in the first day of the school year.  A suspect has been charged in that incident.

“This whole beginning of the semester has been really uncommon for Cal State Fullerton,” Willey said. “And our family here is hurting, but we’ll all get through this.”

He added, “We totally understand the concern of the community right now. We’re with them. We’re going to be doubling up our police presence out here, next couple weeks.”

Students can take advantage of a school-sponsored, self-defense class taught by officers, as well as assistance to those who want to be escorted to their vehicles.

Police urged those seeking an escort, or any possible witnesses to Tuesday’s incident, to call the Police Department at 657-278-2515 and dial 1 to be directed to a dispatcher.

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