Sexual assault in Forbes Hall, emergency alert issued

An emergency alert was sent out to all those registered for Illini-Alerts shortly before noon Monday. The alert was for a sexual assault that occurred in the fourth floor restroom of Forbes Residence Hall at 10:55 a.m.

University Police Lieutenant Roy Acree said the call came in for a battery that was later discovered to be a sexual assault.

“The victim was taking a shower when the suspect came in a grabbed her,” Acree said.

The victim screamed during the struggle causing the suspect to flee. The victim was hit in the head during the struggle. The suspect fled using the east stairwell of Forbes Hall.

The suspect is a black male between 40 and 50 years old who has salt and pepper hair, is 5’11”, 170 pounds and has a medium build. The suspect has not been apprehended and was last seen wearing black shoes and a gray jacket. Anyone who sees a person matching this description is asked to call 911 according to the alert.

“It happened on our floor and we don’t use the bathroom that it occurred in actually but it’s just scary knowing that someone can sneak their way up there in the bathroom,” Erin McGinnis, freshman in LAS said and Forbes resident. “I never really thought about that. There was a crime alert a couple weeks ago… now it’s even my own living space and I have to worry about that. Now we’re probably gonna have to take our keys everywhere and not leave our doors open and its just gonna be a big difference.”

A witness observed another suspicious individual on the floor minutes before the incident.

The second subject is described as a black male, 20-30 years old, around 5’9″ with a medium build. The subject was wearing a black jacket with red writing and black pants.

It is unknown whether the two subjects were associated.

“We don’t know if the second person is affiliated we’re still looking into it to determine that,” Acree said. “We are trying to beat the bushes and aggressively investigate this situation.”

Acree said that Forbes hall issued a lock down and the doors are still locked to Forbes.

“We’re continuing to work with housing for security purposes to see if we can do anything to increase security,” Acree said.

Acree encouraged students to be safe and to be careful when entering the dorms, making sure they don’t let anyone in behind them who looks like they do not belong.

“Don’t be scared to ask someone if they are a resident,” Acree said. “And if you see someone that appears to be out of place, a middle aged person who is not wearing an employee badge, that all university employees are required to wear, don’t hesitate to call 911 and we will come and identify them.”

Whether or not the sexual assault had any connection to previous incidents in University residence halls is yet to be determined.

“We’re looking to see if there’s any connection to the person attempting to record people under the shower stalls,” Acree said. “There very well could be, but we don’t know yet.”

“This is where we’re supposed to live and it’s hard to feel safe when people are getting assaulted,” Mary Hall, sophomore in LAS said.

“Like last year I stayed in the six pack, I stayed in Snyder and I never really heard stories like this,” Hall said. “It’s just security needs to go up or something like that. It’s a good place to live, it almost seems like people have been ehre, it’s wrong place wrong time situations.”

“What kind of people are we surrounded by?” Eugene Kim, third year student in the bio-environmental engineering program, “It’s horrible to think that the person right next to you could be an assaulter.”