Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you have any information...

I recently have heard of an alarming story that occurred at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. The following text is from a friend, Ofelia Adame. She posted this on her myspace last month:

"Thought you guys might want to know about this since it probably will not be in the news.Yesterday (12/11/06) around 12:30 in the afternoon, a woman was found at the bottom of the Library's 3rd floor landing. I know this because a classmate of mine was the person to discover her. My classmate had been studying with a group in one of the rooms on that floor. Two adjacent rooms were occupied when this happened. Both rooms did note loud noises coming from the stairway but they said that it seemed to sound like people running up and down on the stairs. Both rooms assumed people from the opposite room were the culprits. Eventually, my classmate went the bathroom (as we know the stairway doors are located right next to the woman's restroom) and, looking through the staircase door window as she passed it, saw a purse lying on the ground. Upon further investigation she discovered the woman at the bottom of the steps.It looked as if she had fallen from the 3rd floor and landed between the 3rd and 2nd floor staircase, which later on proved to be false. She was unconscious when she was discovered. After a bit of time she gained consciousness momentarily and pronounced that she had been attacked. Her attacker had grabbed her from behind and dragged her to the 3rd floor landing and raped her. Once he was finished he then threw her down the stairs. She suffered a broken shoulder, arm, 5 broken ribs, and a concussion. It is suspected that the attacker was hidden on the stairs out of sight, as anyone who has taken the stairs knows that there is a space there that someone could easily hide in unnoticed.While the woman was receiving medical attention, students noticed a suspicious man lurking around the book stacks. Someone walked over and made eye contact with him and he quickly pulled his cap down over his eyes and headed to the elevator. The campus police were notified of this as the suspicious character seemed to get in line to check out a book. The police then said they would let him check out the book and get his name from the circulation desk. With one person in front of him, he suddenly walked out of line and exited the library and got away, unquestioned.I've been told that this is the third rape to occur in the Library staircase this year but it seems that these stories have been kept out of the media. I guess it would be bad PR."

I have since contacted all news outlets, searched websites and archives and been completely unable to find any information on this assault. I am currently on the phone with the Lamar University Police Department who confirms that there was an incident in the stairwell. Lieutenant Baddey (sp?) told me that a girl was in the stairwell on the fourth floor and felt someone touch her left shoulder but before she could turn to see, she fell down the stairs to the second floor. This differs quite a bit from the story I have heard thus far. However, I will continue to dig to find out the truth behind this incident.

On one hand, if the girl simply fell, I feel badly for her and hope she recovers. If, on the other hand, she was assaulted and raped and the university is covering it up for the sake of bad publicity, rest assured, I will cover it here.

In the meantime, if you have any actual information related to this event, please email me or leave a comment. Thanks.


Dani said...

Hey Jennifer. I spoke with the woman who found the woman in the stairway the day after it happened. You're right- you won't find any information in the media about it because the PR at Lamar is more important than its students' safety.

Ofie said...

As I told Jennifer, the post is no longer on my myspace blog, it was a depressing and infuriating entry and I saw it each time I went to my blog so I removed it after I was certain all that could have seen it from my friends list did. I do however still have it in a note on my Facebook account and all my friends from school where it happened saw it there. It has opened the eyes of many students, especially the girls.