Sex assault prompts 'buddy system' at Fairfield University - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sex assault prompts 'buddy system' at Fairfield University

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Fairfield University. (Wikicommons photo) Fairfield University. (Wikicommons photo)

A reported sex assault on the campus of Fairfield University on Monday night has school officials urging students to use the "buddy system" when traveling the campus at night.

The university said in a statement on Tuesday that the victim was lured from a path to a wooded area where she was attacked.

"We actually received a 911 call last night about 11 p.m. from the victim, who indicated while walking down a path she was pulled into a wooded area, assaulted and sexually assaulted," Fairfield Police Deputy Chief Chris Lyddy said.

The attacker was described as a man around the age of 40 years old.

University officials said they notified the campus community through a text alert system and other modes of communication.

"The safety and protection of our students, faculty and staff remains a top priority for us," the statement read. "Security and safety programs at Fairfield University are continuously updated to meet the University's ever changing needs."

The incident has let many people in Fairfield with an uneasy feeling.

"I grew up in Fairfield, went to high school here," Fairfield University senior Christie Camarda said. "Fairfield has always been a safe place to me and it's shocking, kind of like an eye opener."

Camarda said her and her friends will be on alert after the school after the alleged sexual assault. 

"It's just one of those things where we always thought campus is one of those safe zones, safe spot," Camarda said. "Nothing like that could ever happen on campus." 

The school said its public safety staff consists of 27 full time members.

"University counselors have been with the victim and her family since [Monday] evening," the statement continued. "The university will continue to support the victim and her family’s needs throughout her recovery."

Police are reminding students to use the "buddy system" when traveling the campus at night.

"We're advising students to not walk alone, walk in pairs, walk in groups and be very aware of your surroundings at all times," Lyddy said. "It is a very safe campus, it's a controlled campus, but things can go wrong." 

Christie said she and her friends are already using the "buddy system."

"We always travel in packs, like if it's late at night me no one walks around by themselves," Camarda said. "So that's really important, especially if you're walking around late at night, regardless if you're on campus or out and about. I think everyone should always pick someone to stay with."

The school declined to release any other details out of protection and privacy for the victim. University officials said they are working with the Fairfield Police Department. 

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