USF Police continue search for rape suspect

6:00 PM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- USF Police detectives are continuing to follow leads as they try to find the man they say sexually battered a young woman in a dorm last Wednesday.

Police released a composite sketch on Wednesday, along with new information including an adjustment in the timeframe and the location.

The investigation has determined the victim entered Kappa Hall's south door at 4:07 p.m. The battery occurred in the first floor vending room sometime between 4:07 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

"It's definitely scary. I'm scared, my roommates are scared," said Jordan Dorsch, a USF freshman who lives in Kappa Hall.

It's an uneasy feeling for some students knowing the man is still out there.

Ruth Esperon, also a USF freshman who calls Kappa Hall home said, "It was kind of scary because we're thinking probably night time, we have to be more careful and now we have to be more careful all the time. It's a college campus, we should feel secure all the time."

USF Police tell us detectives are following leads, but they still need help. While the composite sketch is admittedly broad, like the original description, police hope somebody will remember seeing the young man.

He was last seen wearing dark green cargo shorts and a grey T-shirt. He is also described as being clean shaven with sunken eyes, standing at 5'10 - 5'11 and weighing 180-190 pounds.

"We are hoping that somebody will look at this composite and say, 'Hey, you know, I think I saw somebody who looked like that," said Lt. Chris Daniel with USF Police. 

The crime is changing behaviors among students at and around Kappa Hall.

"We have a buddy system going on now," said Ruth Esperon.

"We definitely have stopped letting people in the building when they don't have their cards, even if we do kind of recognize them, we just don't because we still don't know if they can be that person," said Dorsch.

USF Police say students registered to the dorms can only gain access by swiping their student IDs at the doors.

They are further advised to keep their dorm room doors locked at all times.

"The systems are only as good as you allow them to be. We ask them to be aware of their surroundings, don't put yourself in unsafe positions. If you see something that looks out of place, call the police department," said Lt. Daniel.

USF's Safe Team, which has been providing free evening rides and escorts home since the 1970's on campus tells us they've noticed an up-tick in passengers.

"We have seen a marked increase in ridership, nothing incredibly significant, but we've definitely noticed it. A lot of them have been coming straight from Kappa Hall," said Matthew Milton, with the Safe Team.

"We're just kind of on edge every time we go somewhere at night and every time we go outside and into the building," said Dorsch.

Sometimes the power of smell may spark a memory. The victim told police the suspect smelled like AXE body spray or deodorant. Anyone with information is asked to call USF Police at 813-974-2628.

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