Palo Alto, California – Stanford Public Safety Department investigators said this week that a female victim claimed she was assaulted in a parking lot near Wilbur Hall. The alleged crime occurred late Tuesday afternoon.
The victim did not want to speak directly with DPS officers, so she passed the information on to a mandatory reporter, who completed the notification of the alleged crime.
The victim says a suspect grabbed her, restrained her, then took her to a nearby bathroom, where she was raped. The victim believed he had seen the suspect on campus before and described him as a black male, about six feet tall, with brown eyes, a slim build, and a faded beard and mustache.
“I think you’re going to potentially see an increase in the number of cases as kids go back to school, in the coming weeks. Just having kids on campus could push those numbers up, where we could see a drop in those numbers over the summer,” said Professor Bobby McDonald, a criminal justice expert at the University of New Haven.
He believes environments where the suspect and victim are young, and possibly impaired, can and have led to sexual assaults.
Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting Chanel Miller in 2015. He spent three months in Santa Clara County Jail in 2016, then was released and is returned to the family home in Ohio.
“We’re seeing some pretty staggering national statistics. Approximately one in four people will potentially experience domestic violence and sexual assault in their lifetime,” said Adriana Caldera, CEO of YWCA Golden Gate-Silicon Valley. “We know that locally, in our communities, it’s a pretty pervasive problem.”
Caldera said people, especially women, should take advantage of safety resources, such as escort services, and always be aware of their surroundings.
“We always want people to be aware of their surroundings. Ah, make sure they know where they’re going. Where are the physical buildings where they’re going to be. We want people to feel safe,” said said Caldera.
Stanford University officials said they don’t know if the survivor or suspect was part of their student body.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station’s South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv