Security is doubled at art school Police continue search for suspect in sex attacks

November 15, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Security around the Maryland Institute, College of Art has been doubled as city police look for a man suspected of raping one student and sexually assaulting another on streets near the Bolton Hill campus.

"Students are very concerned," said Jana Varwig, the dean of students for the prestigious art school on Mount Royal Avenue. "Students do get hit up for money. They do get mugged. But sexual assault is usually not in the picture for us."

School officials said campus guards and private security from the Midtown Special Benefits District have doubled patrols in Bolton Hill. The college is offering self-defense classes and has increased the hours for the campus shuttle.

"We encourage students to call to get escorts to and from campus," said Debra Rubino, director of communications for the school, which has 1,150 students. "They're nervous and scared."

The assaults occurred Nov. 8 and Sunday. Police recently determined they were looking for the same man after interviewing the victims and getting similar descriptions and methods of attack. Both victims are in their early 20s.

Police and school officials said the first woman to be assaulted was walking in the 1200 block of Mount Royal Ave. about 6: 30 p.m. when a man attacked her from behind and put her in a choke hold. The man forced the woman into an isolated alley, robbed her and raped her, police said.

The second attack occurred about 10 a.m. the next day in the 1700 block of Mason Ave. Police said a woman was accosted from behind, forced into an alley near Bolton Street, robbed and sexually assaulted.

Rubino said college officials have held two open meetings with students to discuss their concerns. One meeting included Baltimore police officers. The students who were attacked have met with counselors and returned to class.

Students are being encouraged to walk in pairs and use the campus shuttle vans, which operate from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. About one-third of the students live on campus; most of the rest live in Bolton Hill. Others are scattered in Mount Vernon and Charles Village.

Varwig said this is a particular busy time for the students, who are preparing for final critiques next month. Many are working late in studios completing their work.

"We desperately want this guy to be caught," she said.

Pub Date: 11/15/97

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