A former student at the College was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury on Aug. 31 charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of third degree burglary.
The student, Shannon Hall, allegedly entered the dorm room of another male student on April 19 at approximately 4 a.m. and performed oral sex, according to Casey DeBlasio, public information officer for the Mercer Country Prosecutor’s office.
Hall, 20, of Pennsauken, was a music education major in his second year at the College last spring.
Erik Cheng, junior music education major, met Hall as a freshman and roomed with him last year.
“Hall was one of those people with two sides,” Cheng said. “We all saw the really nice guy who was very sociable and well-liked by everyone. He knew half the campus and just seemed like a really cool guy. And then there was that other side we didn’t know about, almost like a second life.”
According to Chris Proulx, junior music major, Hall was very involved in the music department and served as an officer of many organizations. He was elected secretary of the College’s chapter of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), as well as the treasurer of Opera Theatre on campus.
“For the whole music department, it was a pretty big shock,” Proulx said. “(When) the information came out (last spring) … it kind of tore everyone up … It’s kind of freaky to think you know someone and find this out. It’s pretty disturbing.”
Cheng also said it was a shock. “But at the same time he seemed like a person who kept secrets,” Cheng said. “Everyone has their own secrets. Sometimes you can’t and won’t let people into them. I think that’s the way he kind of was.”
Hall also participated in a kindergarten through sixth grade instrumental practicum, Cheng said. He spent some time teaching at an elementary school in Trenton. Additionally, he worked as a camp counselor during the summer.
“You think you know someone but then something this severe happens and your whole entire perception of people is undoubtedly questioned,” Cheng said.
According to Cheng, Hall asked him to help pay his bail immediately following his initial arrest last spring. Cheng last spoke with his former roommate a week after the incident. The phone conversation consisted of an apology for involving Cheng in the matter.
Cheng, prior to the alleged crime, was scheduled to room with Hall in the new apartments this semester, but the College forbade Hall to return to campus.
Pending the outcome of his trial, Hall, who is still enrolled at the College but not taking classes, cannot return to campus until his case is considered by the All College Disciplinary Board, which is comprised of faculty, staff and students, Lynette Harris, director of Community Standards and the College disciplinary officer, said.
“Regardless of the outcome, it is our goal to educate all students on the realities of sexual assault and the resources available on campus as well as in our surrounding community to assist any victim or violator in bringing resolution to their devastating experience,” Harris said.
Although he could not divulge specific information in this particular case, Matt Golden, assistant director for Public Information in the office of College and Community Relations, reassured students that the College takes all appropriate actions to protect the campus community.
“What I can say is that the College takes student safety very seriously,” Golden said. “It is the single most important issue, and we take every possible precaution to ensure it. Student security is of paramount importance to this institution.”
Det. Sgt. Jim Lopez of Campus Police refused to comment on this case for the article. Hall could not be reached for comment.
According to DeBlasio, Hall’s next scheduled court date is Sept. 24.