Crime

Sexual Assault Suspect Still at Large Amid Annual CU Boulder Move-In

The assault took place at Williams Village North, a University of Colorado Boulder residence hall.
The assault took place at Williams Village North, a University of Colorado Boulder residence hall. Google Maps
Thousands of students are flocking to the University of Colorado Boulder campus for the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, and the CU Boulder Police Department's patrol cars have been figuratively transformed into welcome wagons, with officers working hard to send a message of safety to new arrivals.

But mere hours after proclaiming "a great end of day 3 of move-in" in a tweet accompanying photos of law enforcement officers passing out popsicles to incoming students, the department issued a safety alert about a reported sexual assault at Williams Village, 3300 Baseline Road, the university's largest undergraduate housing complex — and the search for a suspect is ongoing.

Here's the tweet that immediately preceded the sexual-assault bulletin, sent at 4:25 p.m. on August 17.
The next CU Boulder Police tweet went out at 3 a.m. on August 18. According to the bulletin, a sexual assault had taken place at around 10 p.m. the previous evening at Williams Village North, whose web page describes it as "one of our newer residence halls," with space for approximately 500 students. The department revealed that a suspect had knocked on the door of a female student, then "grabbed the victim by the neck and sexually assaulted her at her residence."

The suspect is described as a college-aged white male approximately six feet tall with dirty blonde hair. He was wearing a white or gray shirt and sweatpants at the time of the assault.

Such incidents aren't commonplace at CU Boulder, but neither are they unknown, as demonstrated by 2018-2020 crime statistics for the campus shared on the Scholarships.com website. The site counts 32 on-campus forcible sex offenses in 2018, 26 in 2019 and twenty in 2020, and the majority of the crimes took place in residence halls: twenty in 2018 and again in 2019, and seventeen in 2020. However, the overwhelming majority of offenses involve violations of drug and liquor laws.

Here's how it breaks down:
Anyone with information about the August 17 sexual assault can contact the CU Boulder Police Department at 303-492-6666. In the meantime, the agency offers the following safety tips:
• If you see an emergency occurring, or you or someone else is in danger, call or text 9-1-1.

• Always use the buddy system.

• Be an effective bystander. Don’t ignore situations that seem problematic or indicators that someone is trying to take advantage of a person who is vulnerable.

• When walking, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid distractions like looking at your phone. Walk in well-lit areas.

• Close and lock your doors and windows to help prevent burglaries and assaults.

• All residence hall residents should be conscientious about any strangers trying to enter buildings without an escort or "tailgating," entering residence halls with a group of students.

• Doors leading to living areas in residence halls remain locked 24 hours a day and visitors must be escorted by a hall resident. Do not prop open doors.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts