In the past month, some students reported witnessing acts of indecency in various locations around the school. One of the students, who preferred not to disclose her identity, saw a male committing an act of lewdness while she was waiting in line at the tutoring center in Webster Hall.
“I was in shock that someone would be doing that so casually,” she said.
The young man who she describes as light skinned and possibly Hispanic had shaggy dark hair. “He overheard me talking about the textbook and made a comment about it [saying] that he too hated it.” His comment led her to believe that he also was getting tutored for the same subject as she was.
Then, she noticed some strange behavior. Unsure of his actions, she decided not to confront him but she “felt a little disappointed” afterwards for not saying anything. “I was making excuses in my head like maybe, he’s doing something else,.” she said.
The incident made her feel “so uncomfortable and violated [as she thinks that] no one should have to see that.”
After getting news that there have been other reports, she came to the conclusion that he was in fact masturbating. She contacted the school’s police department. She later posted her email to the police and their response on Twitter.
Montclair State’s police sent out emails about two other incidents that occurred in the same night.
On Oct. 19 at 11 p.m., it was reported to the police that a male was seen exposing himself at the rear of Hawk Crossings’ Falconidae and Accipiter complex. A little later in the night, at 11:24 p.m., another call came in about a male who seemed to be masturbating outside a window of a first floor room in Count Basie Hall at the Village in Little Falls. In both incidents, the individuals ran off to unknown locations after being confronted by witnesses.
The descriptions provided about the perpetrators are: white males, tall, between 5-foot-11-inches and 6 feet, and with thin builds.
“We always do case analysis to find similarities, differences to see if we are dealing with the same individual,” said Captain Kieran Barrett of the Montclair State police department. He added that he couldn’t “discuss particulars at this time [because] the cases are under investigation.”
These incidents bring concerns among students. Freshman Abby Winjet, a math major and her friend Lauren Hernandez, who is undeclared, share the same feeling of disgust.
Rachel Madeira, a junior in communication and media, shared that she too feels disgusted.
She can’t deny that she feels “unsafe in a way.” Living on campus, she found out after seeing the police responding to one of the incidents.
Madeira reveals that even though she is appreciative of the police’s efforts in communicating the incidents via e-mail, she would also like to get more recent updates on the situation.
As the cases are still under investigation, the police reveal that they are not prepared to disclose more information to the public yet. With the help of the community members, their detectives are pursuing some promising leads.
“We are working with the prosecutors’ office to refine information we have received [in order to create] a suspect profile as reported by victims and witnesses,” shared Barrett, who acknowledged people’s concern “when incidents such as these occur.”
He advises that “people be aware of their surroundings and report crime as it is happening or when safe [because they] will continue to take proactive measures in patrol and investigations to find the individual or individuals responsible.”
The female student who was the eyewitness in one of the incidents wishes for an arrest. “I hope they catch him.”