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Loyola, Notre Dame On Alert After Student Alleges Sexual Assault At Knifepoint

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City police are on the lookout for a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a student on the campus of Notre Dame University of Maryland.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on how the university is stepping up patrols and how students are protecting themselves.

Many students are using the buddy system when they walk around campus, especially late at night. The student who was assaulted says it happened while walking back to her dorm room from the library.

Notre Dame of Maryland University is not a campus known for high crime.

But after a student says she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint while walking back from the library, students are on high alert.

“It’s very surprising,” said Christine Baumgarten, Notre Dame senior. “These things don’t tend to happen on campuses like ours.”

The library is shared by Loyola University Maryland and Notre Dame.

The unidentified student says the sexual assault happened around 3 a.m. Monday.

“As soon as we became aware of the situation we notified Baltimore City police and are working very closely with them during the investigation,” said Dr. Rebecca Sawyer.

The victim did give police a vague description of the suspect.

He’s described as white male in his 40s, 5’10 in height with a medium build.

Campus officials say the student left the library and walked across a path near a campus security phone to get to her dorm room. Right now there is no indication she was able to make it to the nearby phone.

These phones are scattered across the universities, and students are now being informed again of how to use them in emergencies.

“We’re making students aware of the blue lights and the phone numbers for public safety. We’ve asked them to put it in their cell phones,” Sawyer said.

“It kind of makes you wonder what other measures can be taken to make it a safer place,” said Andrew Diddel, Loyola student.

Some students already have their own method of protecting themselves.

“I usually just make sure that I am walking with a friend,” said Chelsea Dickerson, Notre Dame senior.

“I have a rape whistle on my person. I’ve never used it,” said Nicole D’Emic, Loyola student.

Campus police patrols have also been stepped up. Students call the alleged sexual assault an eye opener.

“I guess we can’t all be that naïve,” D’Emic said.

The university also has a campus escort service that students can use after dark.

Both universities are assisting Baltimore City Police with this investigation.

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