Police investigating armed robbery and sexual assault of student

A 20-year-old student reported to Philadelphia Police she was sexually assaulted and robbed Monday night south of Main Campus.

Police are still searching for a man who allegedly sexually assaulted and robbed a 20-year-old student Monday night.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said Temple and Philadelphia Police are collaborating in the investigation of the incident, which was reported at 11:57 p.m. Monday.

Leone said another armed robbery that occurred Monday night on Thompson Street near 16th did not involve a Temple student. In that incident, two men attempted to steal a woman’s handbag before she fled with two male friends, he said.

In the sexual assault and robbery involving a Temple student, Leone said the student was leaving Main Campus and had crossed the intersection of Jefferson and Carlisle streets when the suspect, armed with a silver handgun, confronted the student. He proceeded to take her to a nearby construction site, where he took off some of the student’s clothes and perform “forced intercourse” on her.

Leone added the suspect then took the student’s phone and wallet, before fleeing north on Carlisle Street toward Oxford. The student headed south on Carlisle Street to her apartment and called Philadelphia Police, Leone added.

This case is extremely different than many other sexual assault cases Temple Police has seen, Leone said.

“This was someone who was, I believe, not known to the complainant,” he said. “There’s a gun involved, there’s a threat of force … most times, it’s a social setting, usually a known offender involved where the complainant and offender know each other, or they’re at a party or social scene together.”

Leone added it’s unclear what the motive for the incident was because of the sexual assault.

Philadelphia Police said the incident occurred at about 11:15 p.m. Monday, and the suspect initially struck the student on her arm with his handgun when he first approached her, according to the official police report.

The suspect is described as in his mid 20s and 6 feet tall, and was last seen wearing a gray beanie, green vest, black long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, according to the report.

Leone said Temple Police is working with Philadelphia Police’s Special Victims Unit to review footage from the area to try and identify the suspect.

“We’re just trying to see if there’s anything that we see that fits that description in the area,” he said.

Leone said police are also going to search through footage from properties around the area on Jefferson and Carlisle streets, and are taking the case very seriously.

“One of our detectives went to one of the nearby realtors,” Leone said. “And while they were in there talking, the phone rings, and it’s one of the Special Victims investigators calling too … and this is not competition, this is truly complementing. So it’s good we’re both kind of circling around to make sure we’re covering all the bases.”

Leone added the Special Victims Unit “put out a huge amount of resources” to try and identify the suspect. Temple Police sent out an email about the incident at about noon Tuesday, which included information about the university’s walking escort and shuttle services. A TU Alert was intitally sent out about the incident at about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

“We’re always trying to figure out the right thing to do,” Leone said of the email. “ So one of the things was hey, let’s put together an email blast with just some reminders about what to do.”

While all robberies are bad, this incident is particularly troubling because of the sexual assault, Leone said.

“All these incidents are horrific,” he said. “But this one added another piece to this horrifying incident with it being a sexual assault too.”

Steve Bohnel and Lian Parsons can be reached at news@temple-news.com or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.

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