Student victim of alleged off-campus assault

An alleged assault on a College student in her off-campus home early Sunday caused Ewing Township Police to alert College officials, who sent out a mass e-mail notifying students of an “attempted rape and robbery.”

The timely warning, sent to students on Sunday around 2:45 p.m., said the incident was still being investigated by Ewing police. According to Ewing police, the alleged incident occurred at about 1 a.m. Sunday on the 1800 block of Pennington Road, only steps from the College.

According to Ewing police, a man broke into the house through a first-floor window and proceeded to a bedroom. There, police said, he found a 21-year-old female, whom he asked for money.

Police said when the victim gave him money, he proceeded to tie up and gag her, but then left the residence when she told him a roommate was home.

According to the report, the suspect was described as a black male in his 20s wearing a dark jacket and gloves, and standing about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches.

There has been no arrest as of press time.

Matthew Golden, executive director of Public Relations and Communications for the College, said the timely warning was sent out in response to this incident because it occurred so close to campus.

“We wanted members of the campus community to be aware of the situation and to remind them to exercise the appropriate measures to protect their personal safety,” he said.

The notice cautioned that students should “be mindful of their personal safety, whether on or off campus,” particularly by traveling in groups and locking windows and doors.

Two residents of the house on the 1800 block of Pennington Road requested anonymity to protect the victim’s identity. The two residents provided additional details on the alleged incident. Ewing police could not be reached by press time to confirm or deny the additional details.

One resident of the house who asked to be identified only as a senior journalism major said she spoke to the victim after the alleged assault. According to the resident, the victim said she was going to sleep and lights were on in the house when the alleged assault occurred.

According to the senior journalism major, the victim said the suspect allegedly threatened to rape her. He left when the victim told him a roommate would hear, the journalism major said.

A second roommate said she also spoke to the victim and that she is physically unharmed from the alleged incident.

According to the second roommate, the victim said the man did one more thing before leaving.

“He put things that were in the way when he came in in the (victim’s) car, which is really weird,” she said.

The roommate said none of the relocated items were actually stolen.

“(The victim) had said that he smelled like alcohol and weed,” the roommate added.

Some students expressed concern that the timely warning did not inform the College that the alleged victim was a student.

“They should have told us (the victim was a student),” Michael Herb, sophomore finance major, said. “Since I didn’t think it involved our campus, I didn’t really think about (the e-mail).”

Sarika Williams, junior biology major, agreed.

“I thought it was an outside incident, so I wasn’t worried,” she said.

When questioned why the College community was not told that the alleged victim was a student, Golden said the College “can not at this point discuss whether the victim has an affiliation with the College community out of respect for his or her privacy rights . We owe it to the victim to do the best we can to safeguard his or her privacy.”

Michelle McGuinness can be reached at mcguinn2@tcnj.edu.