No arrests have been made yet in the investigation into the alleged off-campus rape reported Monday, as the school enters the second weekend since the incident. Since Monday, the Williamsburg Police Department has conducted interviews with the student who reported the incident as well as witnesses who were present the night of March 19. Police Investigator Winfield Rose is leading the investigation.
According to police department spokesman Major Greg Riley, once those interviews are completed, the department will contact the suspect. The suspect, who is not in custody, has been identified as a thin white male, approximately 35 years old, over six feet tall, with brown hair, a goatee, and blue eyes.
Based on the circumstances of the case, the suspect does not appear to pose a threat to the Williamsburg community, Riley said. Riley could not discuss details of the case because it is currently under investigation.
Riley said the four day period after the report is not an unusual delay before an arrest.
“There is substantial mental and physical trauma experienced by the ‘survivors’ of these indents [sic] which often causes the survivor to delay reporting for various reasons,” Riley said in an email.
Riley said that students should continue to enjoy their weekend plans as they normally would. He said that students should always be aware of their surroundings, avoid displaying large amounts of cash, keep track of their personal property and avoid dimly lit places when walking alone.
Radha Yerramilli ’16, vice president of Healthy Relationships and Sexual Aggression for the College of William and Mary’s chapter of Health Outreach Peer Educators, said that students should engage in safe sexual practices.
“I think the most effective way to prevent sexual assault is to only engage in sexual activity with people you trust,” she said. “That doesn’t have to be a partner or someone you’ve known for a long time. It’s someone you can go home with and trust the next morning,” she said.
Yerramilli, who was speaking generally about safe practices and not about Monday’s report, said that moderating alcohol consumption is a good way to ensure that sex is consensual.
Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 outlined resources available for students who are survivors of sexual assault in an email to students, faculty, and staff reporting the March 19 incident.
“This year, the Emergency Management Team implemented a new resource, the Rave Guardian app,” she said. “One touch can connect you immediately with W&M Police, or you can send a text or photo tip. The app will also let you set a timer if you are alone or in an unfamiliar place, so that friends, police, or others you trust will be notified if you are late.”
The app can be downloaded from the Emergency Management Team’s website.
In a Feb. 5 meeting the Board of Visitors discussed the College’s role in preventing sexual assault. The College presented survey data which indicated that more than ninety-five percent of students feel safe at night.
Correction (3/30/15 at 8:50 p.m.): Due to a typographical error, an earlier version of this article misrepresented statements made by police department spokesman Major Greg Riley. Riley said the suspect does not appear to pose a threat to the Williamsburg community.