UIC Student Sexually Assaulted in Dorm Shower, Suspect in Custody: School

By Darryl Holliday and Erica Demarest  on March 31, 2014 4:13pm  | Updated on March 31, 2014 8:17pm

 "Heroic" residents heard the attack in Commons South and called for help, a UIC spokesman said.
"Heroic" residents heard the attack in Commons South and called for help, a UIC spokesman said.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

CHICAGO — A student at the University of Illinois at Chicago was sexually assaulted in a dorm shower Monday morning, according to school officials, who called the attack "a brazen crime."

The attack occurred about 10 a.m. at Commons South, 700 S. Halsted St., and prompted an immediate change in security procedures Monday morning, according to Bill Burton, a spokesman for the school. 

Burton declined to elaborate on security plans, citing safety concerns, but he acknowledged that a 24-hour security check was instituted immediately after the assault.

"There are morning procedures, and there are evening procedures," Burton said. "Evening procedures were implemented around the clock this morning."

According to Burton, "heroic" residents heard the female student being assaulted and called for help. The rescuers responded to the commotion during the attack and later impeded the suspect's escape, he said. 

Though it's still unclear how the attacker gained entry to the dorm, campus police caught and detained a male suspect, who is still in police custody, the school said. An investigation is pending and will utilize the extensive network of video surveillance both inside and outside the campus, Burton said.

"I'm sure we'll find out how he was able to access the building," Burton said, adding that the suspect has no affiliation with the school.

Outside the coed dorm, Deenal Amin and her friend Sheryl Mathews expressed worries about security.

"It's scary knowing it was so easy for him to get in," Amin said. "There's security here, and they still got in."

Mathews said that before Monday's change in security procedure, identity checks were only being conducted after 7 p.m.

"Honestly, I wasn't surprised at all," Mathews, a 21-year-old Commons South resident, said of the break-in. "It's so easy for people to walk in and do what they want to. [The school] should work on hiring more staff."

 Residents heard the attack in Commons South and called for help. A male suspect is in custody.
Residents heard the attack in Commons South and called for help. A male suspect is in custody.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

And that staff should include desk security and patrols, Mathews said.

The assault victim has received medical and supportive care, the university said, and campus police have increased patrols inside residence halls.

No further information was immediately available.

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