PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Rutgers University Police are investigating a criminal sexual contact incident that happened Sunday morning at the university’s Livingston Campus in Piscataway.
Students got a very unsettling wake-up call Sunday morning. Police said a man got into the Quad 2 dormitory and sexually assaulted a sleeping student, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“It was really frightening seeing, like, all the cops and just knocking on the door. It just scared us all,” freshman Jonelle Biggs said.
“It’s pretty shocking. I can’t really believe it because, usually, this is the first time I’m ever hearing this before, especially in the Quads because usually the doors have a really good lock on it,” sophomore Liam McRae added.
The incident happened just after 7:30 a.m. Police said the suspect entered the unlocked dorm room and made unwanted sexual contact with the student, waking up the victim. The attacker ran off. The student wasn’t physically hurt. Police would not confirm if the victim was female or male.
“I was just disgusted. I don’t like that. It makes you feel uneasy being around my own dorm,” freshman Jonas Belmonte said.
“It’s actually kind of scary because, like, in the residence halls you have a sense of security,” freshman Suhanya Pathman added. “But I’m even though all the doors are locked you have to get a key to get into the building. She didn’t have a door locked.”
Police describe the suspect as an Hispanic or Indian man in his 20s. He’s about 5-foot-7 with a thin build and black hair, and was wearing glasses, a pink shirt and jeans.
Students said they are concerned about their own safety, knowing the man hasn’t been caught.
“Pepper spray. Just keychain alarms my parents bought for me, so we’re gonna make sure we definitely use those,” freshman Juliet Trifiro said. “And I think we’re going to go talk with friends from our dorm and make sure that we recap what’s going on and how we can make it better. Maybe talk to our RA, stuff like that.”
“Before this, I thought I was 100% safe. I don’t know about now,” another student said.
Sandra Carreira told Sanchez she gave a stern reminder to her freshman daughter to lock her door. She lives in the same building where the attack happened. Carreira said she hesitated bringing her back to campus.
“I’m really concerned. I’m really worried right now. So I just dropped her off and we talk to police because I’m really scared right now,” Carreira said.
Most students found out about the assault through a university email alert, which also reminded students to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves, including to not prop open doors to dorm buildings.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Rutgers Police Department Detective Bureau at 848-932-8025.