Male fondler: Intruder targets UVA men
Women may be the most common targets of sexual predators, but a series of recent break-ins should serve as a wake-up call for men. According to Charlottesville police, at least five male UVA students have been victimized by a home invader who sneaks into their darkened bedrooms late at night and fondles their genitals until they awaken.
"In all the cases, he entered through an unlocked door," says Charlottesville police spokesperson Lt. Ronnie Roberts, who says the intruder, described as a thin black male in his 20s or 30s, flees upon his victim awakening.
The first incident occurred September 29 in a University Circle apartment. The intruder struck again on October 15 and 22 on 17th Street NW and on October 21 on Virginia Avenue. The last reported incident took place November 13 on Wertland Street.
"It's not the norm for a man to become a victim to something of that sort," says Roberts, who fears that men may be less likely to report such assaults out of embarrassment or simply because they're less aware than women of the need to report a sexual assault.
"There may be more," says Roberts, who hopes that by putting out a public alert, other victims may come forward with information that could lead to an arrest.
While male-on-male sexual assault is less common than male-on-female assault, it's not the first time that male UVA students have been targeted. In separate incidents in 2004 and 2005, a local hairstylist was convicted of peeping on men in the UVA area and also of breaking into a male-occupied dwelling in 2005, a charge for which he'd serve four months in jail and undergo a sex offender evaluation.
In the recent cases, Charlottesville police say, the investigation has been stymied by a delay in reporting by the victims. Roberts hopes any future victims will call police immediately.
"If it happens, don't wait hours, days, weeks, or months to report it," says Roberts. "The longer the timeline between the incident and the report," he says, "the more likely they're going to forget some of the factors that are important to the case for us."
Anyone who has experienced a similar incident should contact Charlottesville Police Detective William Newberry at 434-970-3280 or call Crime Stoppers 434-977-4000.