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WFU schedules information session on safety following off-campus crimes

By Kevin Cox
336.758.5237
February 18, 2005

In response to recent off-campus incidents involving sexual assault and attempted sexual assault, Wake Forest University and the Winston-Salem Police Department will present a campus safety session Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in Benson University Center's Pugh Auditorium at the university.

The program is open to Wake Forest students, faculty and staff, as well as Winston-Salem community members.

Winston-Salem police will provide an update on their investigation into three off-campus crime incidents that may be related. Speakers will also discuss personal safety and security measures that the community can take. University speakers will include University Police officials and staff members of the university's Student Life division.

On Feb. 17, the Winston-Salem Police Department announced that it is investigating three sexual assault cases off-campus that may be related. Two female Wake Forest students were victims in two of the cases. The city police describe all three incidents as home invasions into apartments occupied by women who were alone. All women were asleep when confronted by a male intruder.

The suspect in all three cases has been described as wearing a black ski mask and dark clothing. He was armed with a semi-automatic handgun in the two most recent incidents. The suspect had a Hispanic accent, but his race is not clear, according to city police.

A Wake Forest student was the victim of an attempted sexual assault Feb. 5 on Crowne Oaks Circle at Crowne Oaks apartments. The incident occurred at approximately 5 a.m.

A similar incident occurred at about 4:20 a.m. Feb. 17 when a man broke into a West End Boulevard apartment and attempted to sexually assault a woman. She is not a Wake Forest student.

Another incident occurred just before 6 a.m. Feb. 17 when a man broke into an apartment on Bethabara Hills Court, at The Pines at Bethabara apartments. The man raped a Wake Forest student.

In an apparently unrelated case, Winston-Salem police are investigating the possible sexual assault of a Wake Forest student at an off-campus Polo Road residence on Feb. 5. City police have not released details of that case.

The women were treated at a hospital following the incidents.

"University Police will stay in close communication with Winston-Salem police as they continue to investigate these cases," said University Police Chief Regina Lawson. "Meanwhile, we want to encourage people to take proper safety precautions."

Lawson recommends that people visit the University Police Web site at http://www.wfu.edu/police for crime prevention tips.


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