CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (CBS) – Tensions are high at the University of Illinois after a woman was sexually assaulted in her dormitory.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger Reports
The attack happened while the student was showering in a fourth floor restroom at Forbes Hall, at 101 E. Gregory Dr. in Champaign, around 10:55 a.m. Monday morning.
The victim screamed and tried to fight off her attacker, the Daily Illini newspaper reported. She was hit in the head during the struggle.
The suspect fled down the east stairwell of the dorm, the Daily Illini reported.
The assailant is described as a black male between the ages of 40 and 50, standing 5 feet 11 tall and weighing 150 pounds, with a medium build and salt-and-pepper hair. He was last seen wearing black shoes and a gray jacket, and some witnesses said he appeared to be homeless.
A second suspicious person was also spotted in the dorm a few minutes before the incident, the Daily lllini reported. He was described as a black male between the ages of 20 and 30, around 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black jacket with red text on it, and black pants. It is not known if he was in any way associated with the assailant, the Daily Illini reported.
There have also been other cases of women in U of I dorm restrooms being confronted by intruders. There were four such cases in the past few weeks.
Other students who live in the dorm were alarmed by the attack.
“I think it’s kind of crazy, because they way security is, someone has to swipe you up the stairs or up the elevator, so someone had to let him in,” one student told CBS 2 sister station WCIA-TV.
“It’s just scary because the doors are usually locked, so someone obviously needs to let the person in, and it makes me question the security,” another student said.
In a comment left on the Daily Illini story about the attack, a student complained about waking up to another text alert about a crime on or near campus “every other day.”
“Students across campus are talking about this issue daily and we are sick of having to worry about walking home at 8 o’clock at night on our once prestigious campus,” the poster wrote. “First, these incidents were happening off-campus, they then began to creep closer and closer, and now we have incidents happening in the 4th floor bathrooms of our dorms?!?! How many control violations were broken for this to happen? This is yet another very unfortunate situation plaguing our campus.”
The dorm was put on lockdown after the attack. School officials urge students to use caution when entering the dorms and avoid letting anyone in behind them that they don’t know, the Daily Illini reported.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the U of I police at (217) 333-1216. Information can also be shared anonymously by contacting the Champaign County Crimestoppers, at (217) 373-TIPS or at http://www.champaigncountycrimestoppers.com, according to the Champaign News-Gazette.