College Tightens Security After 2 Sexual Assault Attempts

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

ST. PETER, Minn. (WCCO) — Police are still searching for the person responsible for two attempted sexual assaults over the weekend at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Campus leaders held a meeting to discuss the investigation Monday night.

Around 1,300 students and faculty members filled the chapel to hear the plans to keep students safe.

“I’m from St. Peter and still scared about it, especially knowing it was on campus,” said Jennifer Wilking, a Gustavus freshman.

Students are no longer just thinking about exams and homework, they are thinking about their safety.

“I was feeling stressed and not safe at all,” said Sokhna Gueye, a Gustavus freshman.

The two attacks have shaken the sense of security on the small campus.

“This is a stranger situation,” said Matt Peters, the St. Peter Police Chief.”Those are rare, not only on campus, but in the community. I can’t think of one in the community.”

At an informational meeting, students learned the assaults happened in well-lit areas, near the Nobel science building and a path in the arboretum. The victims were alone at the time.

To keep students safe, Gustavus officials warned students to stay in groups and to use the campus-run escort system, so they are not walking alone.

Students said they left the meeting feeling more secure, but still hope police will make an arrest.

“At least we know they are investigating, so feel little safer,” Gueye said.

Police said the women were able to fight off the attacker and only suffered minor injuries. Police believe one person is responsible for both attacks.

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  • Kevin

    Will someone release what they looked liked…my God…

    • RIII

      Perhaps it is a school for the blind?

  • Kwai Chang Caine

    Kevin, Don’t U know they all look alike!

  • Chris Vogel

    I am training to be a women’s self defense instructor. Here are some tips:

    Stay with people/go to people:
    The saying “there is safety in numbers” is true. When you go out stay in a group. If you are alone and feel unsafe, go to a place where there are people.

    Make yourself a hard target:
    Criminals look for behavior and body language that suggest you are an easy target. Anything that reduces your senses of sight and hearing, or that reduces your response time to danger, should be avoided. Someone who is listening to an I-pod with a hooded sweatshirt pulled up with hands in their pockets is an easy target for an attacker. Walk with confidence and purpose, use your eyes to scan the area around you and listen for noise that might indicate something isn’t right.

    If attacked, fight back:
    An attacker expects an easy target. They are not looking to be caught or injured. When you fight back you change the attacker’s game plan and they have to react to you. Use any means available to you. Your elbows, knees, and forearms can inflict a lot of damage on an attacker with minimal risk to yourself. Don’t be afraid to bite, scratch, or use objects to strike your attacker. As you fight back you are creating and/or gathering physical evidence of the attack that the police can use to find and arrest your attacker. Your goal when being attacked is to get away.

    If your attacker gets you on the ground:
    First, do everything you can to roll onto your back. It is important that you can see what your attacker is doing so that you can use your legs and arms to protect yourself. Once on your back, put your feet on your attacker’s hips. Often, you can push your legs to get your attacker off of you and then kick to his body and face. Get up as quickly and safely as you can and get away.

    After an attack:
    1.Get away from the situation and go to people. 2. Tell the police about the attack as soon as possible. Also, make sure to document the attack yourself with pictures of any injuries. 3. Get medical attention. It is likely that you will be cut or bruised. Medical professionals can also help document what happened. Also, take care of yourself mentally. Get counseling, it will help you to know that you are not alone.

  • The Trend

    Lets say alleged attacks for the moment, shall we?

  • great way to not give us all the info ... again

    Call me uninformed but don’t they use cameras in these “well – lit” areas?

    Most places today have video on dang near all we do – which is scary in iteself and a seperate topic altogether

  • MNTom

    Seems like the news is being politically correct again by not giving a discription of the attackers. If it was a well lit area the persone being attacked would have some description of them.

    • The Trend

      You’re right- this is already falling apart. I’m sure there are cameras and as Shameeka points out- a black man would be noticed in St Peter.

  • Shane G

    Is the attacker that sexually deprived? All he needs to do is go out to a bar/club on a Friday night and there are plenty of women to meet. He can find a girlfriend and it’s all done consensually.

    • Ed

      I’m afraid it’s not about sex, it’s a power trip their after.

      And since they didn’t come out first off and say it was a black male suspect, I suspect it was a white male.

  • Michele

    The news last night said he was white and in his twneties. There should be no presumption he is black!

  • student

    I’m a student and I just want to point out that the description given to us could fit a large number of the guys on campus. The girls were thinking more about their safety than memorizing what their attackers looked like. Also it was not a black man and the fact that people jumped to that stereotype is saddening.

  • Nicole

    I am an alumni of GAC and I know the locations where the attacks took place and while there are video cameras near each of the locations, these attacks also took place outside where there are many areas you can go to avoid the cameras.

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