Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn is pleased with the arrest of a suspect who allegedly committed a sexual assault on campus Sunday.
The suspect was arrested Tuesday in connection with a sexual assault that was reported to have occurred Sunday on the Lee University campus.
"We deeply appreciate the work and professionalism of the Cleveland Police Department in this incident," Conn said today in an interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner. "It's reassuring to our students and all of us to have such a great response, and we are grateful for the outcome."
Conn said the close presence of the police department helps to ensure security at the campus, which he said enjoys a low crime rate.
According to Cleveland Police Department Sgt. and PIO Evie West, the 17-year-old-juvenile was arrested and charged with aggravated rape.
West said a collective effort between CPD officers, Lee University Campus Security and the District Attorney’s Office led to the identification, location and arrest of the suspect.
According to an alert emailed to students by campus security, a female student was approached by a man who wielded a knife and demanded sex. The reported victim was in the ceramics room of the annex, which has since 2008 occupied the former Mayfield Elementary School building on Magnolia Avenue.
The suspect was described as a “male, perhaps in his mid-20s, African-American, about 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds, with short hair with bleached tips.”
According to a Lee University crime statistics report, incidents reported to campus security include a rape last year, one forcible fondling in 2015, two aggravated assaults in 2016, 11 simple assaults from 2015 to 2017, as well as 27 instances of intimidation and six reports of stalking for those same preceding years.
The above incidents were reported to campus police, but may not have been actual crimes.
In spite of the latest incident, the Lee campus is considered to have a relatively low crime rate when compared to other higher-education institutions, according to media reports.
Matthew Brinkman, campus security director, agreed with the assessment in interviews with regional media outlets.
After the reported sexual assault of the student, Conn wrote in an email to Lee students Tuesday that the university is exploring ways to make the campus more secure.
"Lee’s campus security is not an armed police force; however, we have an excellent relationship with the Cleveland Police Department and are now working with them to explore ways to make our campus a safer place for everyone," Conn wrote.
"The fact that the police headquarters is only a few blocks away is helpful, and perhaps one reason our crime rate has been one of the lowest of any campus in the state. We believe there are additional steps we can take to improve security, and Dr. Mike Hayes and other administrators are working to develop an action plan."
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