PALO ALTO, Calif, - Investigators with Stanford’s Department of Public Safety said this week a female victim claimed she was assaulted in a parking lot near Wilbur Hall. The alleged crime happened late Tuesday afternoon.
The victim didn’t want to talk directly with DPS officers, so she relayed the information to a mandatory reporter, who completed notification of the alleged crime.
The victim says a male suspect grabbed, restrained, and then took her to a nearby bathroom, where she was raped. The victim believed that she had previously seen the suspect on campus.
Police have released a suspect description that is too vague to report.
"I think you’re gonna see potentially a rise in the number of cases as kids go back to school, coming up in the next couple of weeks. Just the physicality of kids being on campus, could make those numbers rise, where we might see a fall in those numbers during the summer," said Professor Bobby McDonald, a criminal justice expert at the University of New Haven.
He believes settings where both the suspect and victim are young, and possibly impaired, can and have led to sex assault.
Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting Chanel Miller in 2015. He spent three-months in the Santa Clara County jail in 2016, then was released and returned to his family’s Ohio home.
"We see pretty staggering national statistics. Around one-in-four will potentially experience domestic violence and sexual assault within their lifetime," said Adriana Caldera, CEO of the YWCA Golden Gate-Silicon Valley. "We know locally, in our communities, this is a pretty pervasive issue."
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 vigilant about their surroundings. Ah, make sure they know where they’re going. Where the physical buildings are where they’re going to be. We want people to feel safe," said Caldera.
Stanford University officials said they do not know if either the survivor or suspect are 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