Student assaulted in Lafayette Hall

A female resident of Lafayette Hall was assaulted by a male intruder June 29 between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., University Police said.

The identity of the victim was not released, but residents of Lafayette Hall who asked not to be identified said the victim is a high school student living at GW for the summer while she takes a college prep course.

The alleged intruder, a former boyfriend of the victim who was not a GW student or resident, was allowed to enter the building by other residents who knew him, said Emeka Olumba, the administrative aide on duty at the time of the incident.

He allegedly choked the woman and threw her against either a wall or table, a source said. The incident happened so quickly the victim’s memory is not clear about the details, according to the source.

The victim allegedly allowed the man inside the room because she did not know who it was, the source said. Lafayette Hall doors do not have peepholes.

At the time of the incident, Lafayette Hall’s community service aide post was vacant.

“A (CSA) has to be the eyes and ears for the UPD,” said UPD Director Dolores Stafford. All residents entering the building must swipe their GW identification card through the card reader at the hall’s front desk, and non-GW individuals must sign in with the CSA.

A dearth of CSAs prevents UPD from staffing all posts during the summer, Stafford said.

Two residence halls, Gelman Library, the Academic Center and Marvin Center are staffed with CSAs. Riverside Hall receives regular monitoring because it stands at the furthest edge of campus. Kennedy Onassis Hall is monitored because it stands across the street from the Metro station, leaving it vulnerable to higher levels of traffic, Stafford said.

Stafford said CSAs are not the first line of defense. Card readers stop any intruder from entering buildings. But, often individuals who are not residents of the building are allowed in because residents know them.

“Some of the students let (the assaulter) in although they were told not to (allow non-residents into the building),” Olumba said.

Stafford also said students often prop open the building doors with rocks or cans of soda. Such behavior can nullify the work of UPD officers.

But Stafford said students also must take responsibility for themselves to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

UPD officers patrol each residence hall every two to two-and-half hours, checking in at designated stations around the building to assure the buildings’ safety, she said.

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