UNC Police identify suspect, file charges in sexual assault of student

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
UNC sexual assault suspect identified
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UNC Campus Police said Monday afternoon that they have identified the suspect in a reported sexual assault/groping case from the previous night.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC Campus Police said Monday afternoon that they have identified the suspect in a reported sexual assault/groping case from the previous night.

Police said they have met with the suspect and the "appropriate charges have been filed." No other details were immediately released. The case remains under investigation.

Earlier Monday, police released photos of the man suspected of following a student into a dorm and sexually assaulting the student.

"That is really terrifying," said UNC Student Lillian Smith. "I'm always scared that someone is going to come into the building. I'm really careful when I'm going into my residence building."

The incident allegedly happened Sunday evening around 6 p.m. at McClinton Hall.

"It's a terrible, terrible thing," said UNC student Zenith Jarrett.

UNC Campus Police released these images of the suspect in hopes someone will identify him.
UNC Campus Police

There have been similar investigations at other Triangle universities.

Two sexual assaults were reported last week at NC Central and a couple of additional cases at NC State. One of those proved unfounded.

Beth Posner, the Director of UNC's Domestic and Sexual Violence Clinic, said campuses are not experiencing an increase per se. Instead, more young women feel empowered to come forward and file reports, she contended.

"I think we are finally seeing a new generation of students who grew up learning about consent and about different forms of gender-based violence," said Posner. "We know that something like 25% of women undergraduates experience sexual violence, and the statistics for women of color, indigent women, and trans women are higher."

The cases are occurring during a period called the Red Zone.

Experts said more than 50% of college sexual assaults happened between the start of fall semester and Thanksgiving break.

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Monika Johnson-Hostler said students, whether they're freshmen on campus or returning, need to stay vigilant while acclimating to new routines during the period known as the Red Zone.

"One in six women are likely to be sexually assaulted on a college campus, especially during this time," said Johnson-Hostler. "We believe that it's up to us to change the culture so that women and young people don't have to fret being sexually assaulted. But we have a long way before culture shift. So reporting things like this is, ensuring people are aware of things like the Red Zone, that's important to creating culture shifts so that people are aware we all have a role in preventing sexual assault."

UNC is offering support to those who have experienced sexual violence.

The Gender Violence Services Coordinators (GVSCs) provide confidential support to people affected by sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking or sexual and gender-based harassment. To learn more about support and services, visit gvsc.unc.edu or call (919) 962-1343.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available 24 hours a day. Visit caps.unc.edu or call (919) 966-3658.