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Community Notice--Incident of Public indecency in the Arboretum

Sept. 7, 2015

To: The Oberlin College Community

From: Marjorie Burton, Director of Safety and Security

Date: Monday, September 7, 2015

The Oberlin Police Department shared information about an incident of public indecency reported to their office on Sunday, September 6. The subject, who exposed his genitals to an Oberlin community member near the bridge that crosses the creek in the Arboretum at approximately 5:30 p.m., Sunday, is described by the police as a heavy-set white male, early to mid 40s in age, approximately 6’ in height, short dark hair cut in a buzz-cut, no facial hair or glasses, wearing black athletic pants with white and silver striping (no shirt). The perpetrator, seated near the bridge, stood up and exposed himself, then stepped toward the reporting party, and continued to follow, as the reporting party left to rejoin friends.

Oberlin Police are investigating the report. If you were subject to similar behavior, or believe you have seen the described individual on Sunday, or on other occasions, please contact either the Oberlin Police Department directly, or Safety as Security for assistance in reporting and / or in seeking support services, including safety escorts.

Unwelcomed sexual conduct, by exposure of genitals under circumstances where it is likely to be an affront to someone within the person’s physical proximity, is considered a violation of both the Oberlin Sexual Offense Policy and a violation of State law. Any Oberlin College community member who finds specific behavior hostile, offensive, or intimidating; witnesses or is subject to unwanted physical contact of any kind; or is subject to sexual conduct, for which consent has not been given, can and should report that behavior immediately to the Oberlin Police Department or to Safety and Security for assistance.

While not all crimes can be prevented, and the below advise may not be specific for this incident, this communication with the community is to remind each member to take special care for your own safety and for the safety of others, and to be well-acquainted with the requirements of Oberlin’s Sexual Offense Policy. Additional recommendations include:

  • Travel with friends, especially in visiting more isolated areas on or near campus. Keep in mind areas where you may seek refuge as you travel. All students can swipe into all residence halls 24-hour a day as they traverse campus.
  • Program phone numbers into your phone for quick access if you need assistance: Safety and Security may be reached at (440) 775-8444; Oberlin Police may be reached at (440) 774-1061 or through 9-1-1 for an emergency.
  • Report incidents promptly from a safe refuge. Officers will respond to both assist you, and to attempt to identify the source of the reported problem.
  • As a bystander, be ready to intervene. Observe how others are acting or interacting, and decide if you have a responsibility to act, choosing a safe form of assistance, including reporting concerning behavior to Safety and Security, or assisting someone remove themselves from the situation.
  • Seek assistance from the Oberlin Police if there is an emergency. Dial 9-1-1. Contact Safety and Security for a safety escort if you need assistance by calling (440) 775-8444 or Ext. 58444 from on campus. RideLine transportation is available 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. by calling 440-775-RIDE.

Victims of any form of unwanted sexual conduct or of sexual assault are encouraged to seek support and can obtain information from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at 440-775-8555, or through the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center at 1-800-888-6161.