Police step up patrols after rape of teen

Towson hospital visitors concerned about safety

April 26, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police and private security forces in Towson said yesterday that they have stepped up patrols as the search continues for two men who abducted, raped and beat a 17-year-old girl Tuesday night.

County police joined Towson University campus officers and St. Joseph Medical Center security in patrolling parking garages.

The Reisterstown teen-ager was abducted about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday from the hospital's garage, in the 7600 block of Osler Drive, by two men in a dark-colored pickup truck.

She was taken across Osler Drive to a secluded area of the Towson University campus, where she was assaulted, police said.

The attackers were described by police as white men in their 30s, one with blond hair, the other with brown hair.

University police concentrated their patrols yesterday on two school parking garages.

"We've stepped up areas that fit the [pattern] of the suspects," said Capt. Robert Novak.

Hospital officials said they, too, have increased security, offering escorts to hospital visitors.

"Regrettably, even with around-the-clock security, incidents like this can occur," the hospital wrote in a statement. "St. Joseph Medical Center is deeply saddened by this incident and we are working closely with police to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Police said a security camera picked up a dark-colored truck leaving the garage but have not said whether the license plate number was visible.

Rape reports have declined in the Towson area this year, according to county police figures. During the first three months of the year, five rapes have been reported in the Towson Precinct, down from 11 in the comparable period last year and 12 in 2000.

But the attack occurred a day after a Baltimore County judge sentenced a Baltimore man to life in prison for raping a Towson University student last year.

Anthony J. Miller, 30, of the 300 block of E. Belvedere Ave. in Govans was convicted of first-degree rape in the attack on a Towson University student as she was walking home from her job at a restaurant at 11:30 p.m. March 24 last year.

Prosecutors said he followed her across campus, grabbed her from behind and threatened to inject her with what he said was an HIV-contaminated needle before raping her. He is also accused of raping a 12-year-old Rodgers Forge girl who was walking home from school. Those charges were not prosecuted after Miller received the life sentence.

Concerned visitors

The attack Tuesday has caused concern among hospital visitors.

Nancy Foley, 60, who was alone in the multideck garage about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, recalled yesterday, "I said `This is eerie.' It makes you think even more that it can happen to you."

The garage is dimly lighted, even in daytime.

Other visitors were outraged that the attack took place in the parking lot in early evening.

"Where was the security?" asked Donna Ghee, 41, of Baltimore. "Any woman, whether day or nighttime, should be protected."

Jeanne Cipollini visited the hospital yesterday and said the attack on the teen-ager won't keep her from returning.

"I'm not afraid of parking garages," said Cipollini, 37, of Baltimore. "All parking garages can be dangerous, and security guards can only see so much."

Isabelle Schorr of Timonium said the attack made her think twice about her visit yesterday.

"I was a little nervous coming over," Schorr, 39, said. "It's a small enough parking lot that you think they could've secured it at 7:30 at night."

University reaction

At nearby Towson University, the attack did not cause concern among some female students interviewed yesterday.

"I feel safe," said Christine Weller, 20, of Annapolis. "I walk across campus every night, and there are always people around."

Sophomore Jaclyn Talley, 20, of Baltimore said she always takes precautions.

"I never walk alone when it's dark out," she said.

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