Police arrested a suspect Sept. 14 in the indecent exposure incidents on campus. This suspect may also be linked to similar incidents that occurred on campus in April. The suspect’s name has been withheld due to the ongoing investigation, police said.
Students reported an individual exposing himself in the library Sept. 8.
Reports were called in again on Sept. 10, first in the PE/Event Center, and then half an hour later in the Arts Building. Though police responded quickly, the suspect was able to escape each time.
Auraria police chief John Mackey said that while the on-campus police staff is small, responses are timely.
“Although we have a limiting staff with 25 officers and [three] security officers, our notification system that is utilized by our Auraria Events, Facilities and Parking staff, as well as students and faculty, allows us to quickly search for potential offenders in an efficient manner,” Mackey said.
Lisa Ingarfield, associate director of the Phoenix Center at Auraria said that it is common for indecent exposure to be taken lightly. Such offenses, though, are sexual assaults and can leave victims with feelings of anger, fear and frustration.
“Victims can feel that they’re worrying over nothing,” she said. “They can pretend it didn’t happen. They need to be able to acknowledge that they are victims and talk it out. They don’t have to come to a professional, but they should talk to someone.”
Jacki Feigle, an MSU Denver senior, was not a victim of the crimes but has felt their repercussions. Studying alone on the silent second floor of the library, she felt apprehension at the building’s emptiness.
“I was scared in a place where I once felt safe,” Feigle said.
Ingarfield said that it is important for friends and family not to pressure a victim to “get over it.” Everyone handles violation in their own way, she said.
“People who experience this kind of crime always feel awkward,” Ingarfield said. “But they need to understand that this kind of criminal eventually commits much more violent crimes.”
Ingarfield’s statement was backed up by Mackey. He advises that students who encounter such offenders should immediately leave the area and call the police.
“We would always consider these types of offenders dangerous,” Mackey said.
Despite the fact that a suspect has been arrested, some students may still feel a sense of unease on campus. Ingarfield said that these feelings could range from nervousness and hyper-vigilance to a fear of coming to classes. She recommends that fearful students come to the Phoenix Center to make a plan about feeling safer on campus.
The Phoenix Center at Auraria is located in Tivoli 227. They can be reached at (303) 556-CALL (2255).