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Female undergrad raped, robbed along Skinker

Victim released from hospital Monday afternoon

| Contributing Reporter

A female undergraduate was raped early Monday morning while walking from the Danforth Campus to the DeMun neighborhood.

According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the victim was walking south on Skinker Boulevard near Northwood Avenue around 12:30 a.m. on Monday when an unknown suspect overtook her from behind.

The assailant, who was not known to the student, forced her between two buildings and raped her. During the incident, the attacker indicated that he had a knife but did not display it.

After the rape, the suspect took money from the victim and fled the scene. Because the attack occurred off-campus, the investigation is in the jurisdiction of St. Louis Metropolitan Police, not Washington University Police.

The victim was treated at a local hospital and, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Steve Givens, released Monday afternoon.

“Obviously we’re very concerned about her and helping her get through this situation, so we’ve reached out to her and her family,” Givens said. “Her family is now here, and she’s released from the hospital and doing well. That’s a relief, but obviously we’ve offered her counseling or whatever she needs to help get her life back.”

On Monday morning, the University notified the campus community of the incident through a campus-wide e-mail and crime alert.

The decision to release alerts is made on a case-by-case basis; according to Steve Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations, the University issued an alert in this situation because “it involved a student and did occur in an area where we have a lot of University people living, both students and faculty,” so there was concern because the suspect remained at large.

Although the University’s e-mail to students described the incident as a sexual assault, a Metropolitan Police release specifically characterized the incident as a rape, a particular type of sexual assault. As of this writing, police had not released any information about the crime beyond a description of the suspect and basic details of the victim’s report.

In the past, the DeMun neighborhood had not been associated with the same volume of crime reported north of campus, leading many students to believe that it is a safer neighborhood.

“Generally, [DeMun] seems really safe,” said Judson Kempton, a sophomore who lives in the area. “I wouldn’t expect that sort of thing to happen.”

Police described the suspect as a black male between 18 and 25 years of age, approximately 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 5 inches in height and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds. At the time of the assault, the suspect was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt over a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and white gloves.

Police request that any person with information relevant to the incident contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-371-8477.

Click here for additional coverage of the incident

This story differs from the print edition in the following way:
Due to a production error, two paragraphs were inadvertently omitted from this story. This version includes those two paragraphs.

  • babeol

    Great ideas but the police in St. Louis are hopeless. My car was broken into and a week later they showed up and wanted to file the report!! St. Louis needs a complete change of city government to get the corruption out. Only then can a change occur. Until that happens the WashU students need to wise up and arm themselves because the city police aren’t going to do a darn thing to help. There are high powered mace or pepper spray blaster guns available for about $50 and they are legal to carry.

  • LA Cop

    I have a son who is a student at Washington University, and though I commend the University to put on additional transportation they should also put pressure on St Louis Police to put a special task force on this crime. Most rapist are serial rapist and this criminals DNA is probably already in the system.
    I would like to see some bait police walk in these areas to try to snag the perpetrator.
    The administration should use its political clout to pressure the chief to treat this like a special victim crime with all available resources.

  • georgio

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Wash U students are looked at by the underbelly scum of St Louis as easy prey.
    I only hope they quickly catch the sob and put him away to rot for the rest of his life.

  • me

    Its amazing that every few months (or even more often) someone is assualted/beaten/mugged/robbed/carjacked in the areas where students reside – be it the north side, the forty a few years back, and now even the traditionally safer Demun area. When is Wash U going to actually use their ridiculously large police force to actual police something? All we hear about is UCity and Wash U police enforcing no noise policies, breaking up parties, busting minor drug distribution rings, and doing other low level crap that does nothing to make the school’s community safer.

    Everytime this happens the administration produces a video or sends out a text message or some other BS to appear like they’re doing something. Arming students with text messages and videos is not very effective, as we continue to see. When you can’t even park your car in a “safer” neighborhood at midnight, something is wrong.

    It would be nice to see the University worry more about protecting students and less about protecting its reputation and attracting applicants with expensive petunias.

    My heart goes out to this young lady.

  • ed

    why arent the police dept stationing themselves along this route ( a very common walking route) at night, along with the walk to the Loop. and why arent free ‘safe rides’ being offered at night. stop being lazy/cheap.