Notre Dame student alleges sexual assault at knifepoint

A student at Notre Dame of Maryland University has alleged that she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint on campus in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 22.

Notre Dame spokeswoman Nancy Carr confirmed the complaint, which was reported to students by both Notre Dame and by the campus police department of Loyola University Maryland, located next door to Notre Dame.

The two universities share a library. Initial reports indicate that the incident took place along the pathway from the library toward Notre Dame's Knott Science Center on the southeast side of its campus, according to Loyola police.

"We're trying to find out what happened and how to keep it from ever happening again," Carr said.

According to Loyola University police, the unidentified student filed a report of an alleged sexual assault at 3 a.m., as she returned to the Notre Dame campus after leaving the Loyola/Notre Dame library. Carr said her understanding is that the incident occurred between the library and Bunting Hall.

Loyola police described the suspect as a white male in his 40s, approximately 5-feet, 10-inches tall, with a medium build. The Baltimore Police Department is investigating the incident, and both Notre Dame and Loyola are supporting the investigation, Loyola police said.

The Notre Dame student has been treated at and released from an area hospital, Loyola police said and Car confirmed.

Notre Dame has its own campus security force and sent an e-mail to its campus community, alerting them to the incident, Carr said. She said the email stated in part, "We assure you that your safety is our top priority. The (Notre Dame) Office of Public Safety is responding with additional campus patrols."

Loyola police said they will increase their patrols and will "focus additional closed-circuit television assets on this area," in the wake of the incident.

The university police also are urging students to walk in groups, use the campus shuttle system, and, if shuttles have stopped for the night, to call campus police for an escort or ride.

Notre Dame also 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.

Carr said the alleged sexual assault is the first at Notre Dame university, at least in recent years, and one of the few crimes of any kind reported on the quiet campus of the largely women's college of just over 3,000 students, about half of whom live on campus.

In 2011, no crimes at all were reported at Notre Dame, "and certainly no assaults," Carr said. In 2010, a robbery and three burglaries were reported, and in 2009, a car was reported stolen, she said.

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