Man suspected in NCCU sexual assault in dorm has court appearance; Judge doesn't reduce bond

Thursday, September 28, 2023
Suspect in NCCU sexual assault in dorm has court appearance
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The freshman student is facing three charges, including second-degree forcible rape. His father spoke at the hearing.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two sexual assaults have been reported on NCCU's campus in the past week.

In the most recent case, a woman said a man grabbed her arm while she was in the bathroom and sexually assaulted her. The case was classified as a sexual assault rape.

It happened just before 3 a.m. at Benjamin Ruffin Residence Hall. Wednesday night, NCCU Police Department announced the arrest of Christian Hopper, 18, who they said is a student at the university.

Hopper appeared in front of a judge Thursday morning via Zoom less than 24 hours after his arrest. The freshman student is facing three charges, including second-degree forcible rape. His father spoke at the hearing.

"Christian has always been and still is a respectful ... well-likable in the community," Hopper's dad said. Since Hopper has no criminal history his father asked the judge to reduce his bond.

Judge Amanda Maris said the case is very new and it is not unusual for the court to want the victim's perspective before considering a significant bond reduction.

"Obviously the charges are quite serious," Maris said. She added, "There's a notable absence of any information from the victim or the victim's family that I don't have at this time. The bond is set."

NCCU shared with ABC11 some of the resources that are available to students, including Rape Aggression Defense (R. A. D.) training, a course that includes lectures, discussions and self-defense techniques.

The university said the most recent class was on Sept. 18 and is held several times a year.

Wednesday night, ABC11 spoke with one student who has suggestions for university leaders.

"I think we should have more security in our dorms, especially, and like, less visitation at night or like allowing people in at night, period," student Olivia Worthy said.

A different sexual assault was reported in the Chidley Residence Hall on September, 23. It happened just before 2 a.m. It was classified as a sexual battery/sexual assault-folding case.

One assault took place Saturday, while the other took place Wednesday.

Students like Brianna Waiters are concerned for their safety on campus.

"Where security at, when things like this happen, you know, where is the safety?" Waiters said.

She said she found out about Wednesday's assault through an email from the university.

"Oh, no. We were never aware of the first one. That's sad," Waiters said.

Student Ryan Young said he is worried not only for himself but for his sister who is also a student at NCCU.

"It just give me a feeling of worry and that I have to worry about her as well as my sister. And so I'm going to call her tonight. Most definitely text her just to let her know, like be vigilant," he said.

Anyone with information about the cases should contact the NCCU Police Department at 919-530-6106.