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Notre Dame student 'miscommunicated' information about alleged sexual assault, police say

Baltimore City police said Friday, Oct. 26 the alleged sexual assault of a Notre Dame of Maryland University student on campus Oct. 22 was "miscommunicated" to police by the student and that "there was and is no threat to the campus or neighboring communities."

Police spokesman Det. Vernon Davis would not elaborate, but said the investigation into the alleged assault continues.

In a written statement sent to Notre Dame university officials on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 26, police department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, "After a review of the evidence, including the victim's formal statement to police in the reported sexual assault case at Notre Dame University of Maryland, detectives with the Baltimore Police Special Investigations Section have determined that the original incident of a sexual assault was miscommunicated to police."

Guglielmi's statement added, "Specific to this incident, there was and is no threat to the campus or neighboring communities."

But Notre Dame spokeswoman Nancy Carr said, "We remain sensitive to the individual's privacy. We continue to be concerned for the well-being of our entire community."

Police reported inititally that the 19-year-old student said she was walking back to her room on campus at approximately 3 a.m., from a library that Notre Dame and next-door Loyola University Maryland share, when she heard footsteps behind her. The woman said she was grabbed from behind by a man armed with an edged weapon, possibly a knife, and sexually assaulted, according to police.

The Loyola-Notre Dame Library closes for the night at 2 a.m.

The woman later went to an undisclosed hospital downtown, where staff called police at 11:15 p.m. that night to report the incident, police said.

Both Notre Dame and Loyola University Maryland reported the alleged incident to their students and faculty through email alerts on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Loyola police said the incident took place along the pathway from the library toward Notre Dame's Knott Science Center on the southeast side of its campus.

Baltimore City and Loyola police said earlier in the week that the woman described the assailant to police as a white male in his 40s, approximately 5-feet, 10-inches tall, with a medium build, short hair and possibly facial hair, and was wearing dark clothes. It was not known Friday whether the police were still seeking an individual with that description.

Notre Dame officials wrote in their email to students and faculty after the incident, "We assure you that your safety is our top priority. The Office of Public Safety is responding with additional campus patrols."

Notre Dame offers a campus escort service after dark, and students are made aware of it during orientation, Carr said. She said students can call "0" to get an escort.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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