The Montclair State University Police Department arrested a man on Tuesday night for harassing a woman in one of a string of incidents which occurred on campus over the past week.
Steve Medina, a 23-year-old man who is not a student and has no permanent address, was charged with a disorderly persons offense.
A female student reported that, while walking up the ramp to Sam’s Place around midnight last Thursday, a man approached her. When she refused to engage him in conversation, he “reached out his arms toward her,” according to the email sent to the campus community. Medina was arrested by university police on Tuesday night in the Student Center Mall. He was released due to the nature of the offense. “However, Medina is no longer permitted on University property as a visitor or guest and will face further prosecution if he violates that directive,” according to Lieutenant Kieran Barrett of the Montclair State University Police Department. Medina is currently awaiting his trial at the Little Falls Municipal Court.
This incident was the second of three “suspicious person” reports at Montclair State over the course of the past week and is currently the only one in which an arrest was made. An email was sent out from Cell in each case to alert the campus community.
The first occurred early on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the NJ Transit Parking Deck. A woman reported that a black man, whom she identified to be about 6 feet 1 inch tall with a slim build and dressed in khakis and a red shirt, harassed her verbally then grabbed her shoulder. After the woman escaped from the scene, the man could not be located by the police.
A third community alert was sent about an incident which occurred at 10:40 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 in CarParc Diem. A woman reported that a black man driving a black two-door sedan attempted engaging her in conversation while using harassing language.
In response to questions about any suspected relation among the incidents given the similar descriptions of the three suspicious individuals, Barrett said, “University Police continuously look at patterns and trends when it comes to incidents such as these. While there are similarities in each report we received in this instance, we look at them both individually and as a whole for a thorough investigation.”
University Police responded to the reports by taking measures to further ensure student safety on campus at night. “As a preventative measure, we have increased both personnel and patrols,” Barrett said.
Additionally, keeping in line with the Jeanne Clery Act, university police have continued to consistently alert the community about such incidents. Barrett said, “Knowledge is the key component for our community. We have an obligation under federal legislation to alert our community and keep them in the know for incidents that may be a potential threat to their safety.”
Two of the incidents are still under investigation by the Detective Bureau, but Barrett expressed gratitude toward the “concerned community members coming forward to report information.”
According to the latest email sent from Cell to the campus community, “The Montclair State University Police Department will continue to alert the community to both real-time and potential threats that may [affect] their safety at Montclair State University.”