Thurston intruder to face grand jury

A University of Maryland student was jailed and charged with first-degree burglary this week after he was arrested for attempting to touch several sleeping females in Thurston Hall last Friday, according to court documents.

Seth Rudnitsky, 18, a freshman at Maryland, was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly entered four different Thurston residence hall rooms and attempted to initiate sexual acts with female students, according to a Metropolitan Police report. Sheila Miller, a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office, said Rudnitsky had been charged with first-degree burglary and was in jail until Tuesday.

Requests for comment from prosecutors regarding Rudnitsky’s charges were not returned.

Mark Schamel, Rudnitsky’s attorney, said Rudnitsky was intoxicated and made a “typical freshman” mistake. Schamel declined to comment on the specific allegations from the female students who said Rudnitsky tried to initiate unwanted sexual conduct.

“This is not a sexual assault case. You have a really good kid who has never been in trouble his entire life,” Schamel said. “It’s your typical freshman ‘I went out and had too much to drink and was being silly’ kind of case.”

Charging documents refer to the incidents as “unwanted physical contact.” In an interview with police, Rudnitsky admitted to entering “3 to 4 rooms and touching a bed, arm, or shoulder,” according to the documents.

Rudnitsky entered the room of one student with the “intent to commit a criminal act,” according to charging documents.

Rudnitsky faced a preliminary hearing – an appearance before a judge – Tuesday, Miller said, and had been held without bond in a D.C. jail until the hearing. He has since been released, and his case is awaiting a grand jury, according to court documents. A timetable for further court appearances was not available.

Rudnitsky’s release is conditioned on drug testing and a stay-away order from GW and one of the female students whose room he allegedly entered. He is not allowed to have alcohol or go to bars, and he is also under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew barring “study groups,” according to his release documents.

A woman who identified herself as Rudnitsky’s aunt answered the phone at the Rudnitsky residence listed in the University of Maryland student directory, but declined to comment on the case, saying that “the facts were wrong,” and that no information would be made available “from this place.”

The allegations are similar to a series of reported unlawful entries and sexual assaults around Georgetown where the perpetrator, known colloquially as the “Georgetown Cuddler,” would get into women’s beds and touch them.

MPD Lt. Norman Power of the Second District police station said that, though officers are looking into a possible connection because of the similar scenarios, there has not been any evidence to suggest the crimes are related.

Schamel said his client simply made a mistake.

“He had no ulterior motives. He’s a wonderful kid who had too much to drink,” Schamel said. “This frankly shouldn’t even be a criminal case. I think it’s being entirely blown out of proportion.”

Attempts to contact Rudnitsky were unsuccessful.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.