Student reports recent dorm room assault

A female student reported being assaulted in her dorm room early in the morning on Sunday, Sept. 23.

The attack has been classified as assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to Kyle Johnson, Williamstown Police Department (WPD) officer.

Jean Thorndike, director of Security, defined the charge as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury” by using a weapon or other means intended to “produce death or great bodily harm.” Assault and battery is a felony charge, which can be punished with up to 10 years imprisonment, Johnson said.

Although neither Johnson nor Thorndike would discuss details of the attack, Johnson said that the assault occurred between late night Saturday, Sept. 22 and early morning Sunday, Sept. 23, and that a weapon was used.

He added that the student sought medical attention at North Adams Regional Hospital Sunday, Sept. 23 “hours later.” She was treated and released.

Nancy Roseman, dean of the College, said that the alleged assailant was “an acquaintance [of the student] unaffiliated with the College, who resides outside Massachusetts.” He is described as a 24-year-old white male with a shaved head and blue eyes, measuring 6’2″ and weighing around 165 lbs., according to the WPD. Thorndike noted that it is not certain how the assailant gained entry to the student’s dorm.

The student reported the incident to Security a few days after the attack, Roseman said. The WPD was informed Thursday and currently is carrying out the investigation. According to Johnson, the case is “still open”; no charges have been filed and the investigation is “still pending.”

Roseman noted that the assault was “a very unusual event.” According to Thorndike, the last reported aggravated assaulted occurred in 1999, when a local resident hit a student with a broken bottle.

Friday afternoon, Roseman sent an email to all students, faculty and staff alerting them to the situation. As a result of the attack, the College is suggesting that students be on the alert.

“Security urges all students to remain vigilant about allowing strangers access to residence halls,” Thorndike said, asking students to notify Security or the WPD of any suspicious activity.

According to Roseman, “In the wake of this event, the rash of laptop thefts and thefts in the past, we know that we’re not immune to those things. We like to think we live in the Purple Bubble, and we do, but we’re still in the real world.”