Four recent events shake safety of Keene State College campus

Kaitlyn Coogan

News Editor

 

A student sits alone in the dark with nothing more than space to separate him or her from being the next victim in a dangerous situation.

Since August there have been multiple suspicious individuals meandering around campus causing more students to report what they see, according to Amanda Warman, director of Campus Safety.

“We’ve had a busy fall and that is because people are reporting, which is a good thing,” Warman said.

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On Aug. 24, a man was reported taking pictures of a female employee in the Spaulding Gymnasium while she was showering, according to the Campus Safety crime alerts.

KSC liaison officer, Katie Corbett said the suspect for the crime, Donald Mason, was arrested on Sept. 8. Mason was a contract employee of Keene State College who, since the incident, has been fired and awaits trial, according to Warman.

A crime alert went out to students and faculty when at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 19, students from Owl’s Nests Two and Three witnessed a man looking into their window while exposing himself and masturbating. According to Campus Safety, there is no indication that the individual was ever in the building or had any direct contact with the students.

The suspect is a white male, approximately 5 feet 6 inches, average build and wearing a dark blue “hoodie” sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Some students may recall a similar incident that happened last year outside of Carle Hall.

“I remember hearing last year the same exact thing happening outside of Carle,” junior Kim Lynch said.

Warman said that it may or may not be the same person but it is more than a single individual performing a crime.

“One of the reasons for the crime alert is to see if we can get additional information from other people who have seen that person,” Warman said.

“The crime alerts are intended to not just alert people the activity but to say can you help provide us information about the occurrence of the crime,” she said.

Residence Assistant Elizabeth Behr was the first one contacted by the students about the suspect.

“Our first priority were the students. We wanted to make sure they received the services they needed,” Behr said.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Campus Safety sent out another crime alert to all students and faculty about a suspicious individual following then proceeding to grab a female student.

Warman said the student was heading home from a party when  she was assaulted. The suspect grabbed her and pulled her around the corner onto Davis Street. She was able to release an arm from the suspect’s grip and punched the suspect in the face before fleeing to a residence hall to call Campus Safety who also called the Keene Police.

According to Warman, the suspect picked the student because she was walking alone even though there were two businesses still open, Domino’s and Cobble Stone, and still a lot of foot traffic.

The student is provided support resources that include 24 hour counseling.

Also in the week of Sept. 17, a former female student, LaLae Heihim-Panah, was wandering around campus looking dazed and confused.

According to Warman, she was asking questions that made no sense and was prostituting herself to students.

There was no physical contact with other students and she left campus on her own.

Warman asks students to report regularly any suspicious individuals, stay with a group of people, do not leave anyone behind, and stay alert.

 

Kaitlyn Coogan can be contacted at kcoogan@keene-equinox.com.

 

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