Police: Sexual assault suspect still on the run

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said a 20-year-old student was allegedly sexually assaulted here Sept. 28. | Margo Reed TTN
Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said a 20-year-old student was allegedly sexually assaulted here Sept. 28. | Margo Reed TTN

On Sept. 28, a 20-year-old female student reported to police she had been sexually assaulted and robbed on Carlisle Street near Jefferson.

Because of the attack, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said Temple, Philadelphia and SEPTA Transit Police are collaborating in what has felt like a “personal” incident to local law enforcement.

“Everybody’s walking with their head down,” Leone said in an interview Friday. “Because it’s one of those feelings that something so bad happened, that it goes against your grain.”

Police are still searching for the man responsible for the attack and robbery, which occurred at about 11:15 p.m. Sept. 28, Philadelphia Police said.

Last Friday afternoon at a press conference at the department’s Special Victims Unit Headquarters at 300 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia Police released footage of a man believed to be the rapist, taken from a SEPTA Broad Street Line subway camera.

Officer Tanya Little, a Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, said no arrests have been made in the case as of Monday night.

Leone said footage of the suspect was initially discovered via the university’s Morgan Hall surveillance cameras.

“We saw some shadow movement at Broad and Jefferson,” Leone said. “So we did a lot of backtracking and saw someone coming out of the subway.”

According to a description in the video provided Friday by Philadelphia Police, the suspect was seen boarding the Broad Street Line at the Erie station, and departing at the Cecil B. Moore station.

Leone commended the teamwork of local law enforcement on quickly coming together to find the footage—including SEPTA Transit Police, who scoured through hours of footage to create the video released at Friday’s press conference.

“When we called SEPTA, they were on it,” he said. “They spent the whole night going through video to try and find the trains he may have been on … so it really was an amazing collaborative effort.”

Officer Christine O’Brien, another Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, said the man in the footage was confirmed as the suspect because both the student and a witness confirmed it when shown the video.

Leone previously told The Temple News unlike many other sexual assault cases, the student did not know her attacker. Because of this, he said the incident is unlike any other one he has ever seen.

The university has recently taken several steps to deal with the issue of sexual assault, including releasing the Sexual Misconduct Report in August. Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi said he has worked closely with Dean of Students Stephanie Ives and the President’s Office in combating sexual assault.

Rinaldi added communicating information about current resources to students, like the TU Door shuttle service and walking escorts, are vital.

“A lot of the resources we have here are great,” he said. “It’s a matter of making sure students know about them, because a lot of them don’t. A lot of students leave the TECH Center and don’t realize there’s a bus that can take them to their house if they need it.”

Ives wrote in an email a meeting was held Friday morning to make the content of the sexual misconduct website more user-friendly.

“We recognize that during a time of immense emotional distress, having information be accessible and clear is important,” Ives wrote.

While several of the website’s resources help those who may have known their attacker, Director of Student Affairs Chris Carey said sexual assault is a serious issue, whether it be like the one that occurred Sept. 28 or other cases involving interpersonal violence.

“Whether you know the attacker or not, it’s a terrible situation for the students that are involved,” he said. “It impacts people differently, but in either scenario, it’s something we have to do our best to eliminate.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

CORRECTION: In a version of this article that appeared in print, “… Philadelphia Police released footage of a man believed to be the rapist, taken from a SEPTA Broad Street Line subway camera,” originally read, “… Philadelphia Police released footage of a man believed to be the racist, taken from a SEPTA Broad Street Line subway camera.” The Temple News regrets the error.

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