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Police identify Conn College voyeurism suspect

February 8, 2019

New London — As part of unfolding investigations into reports of voyeurism in dormitory bathrooms at Connecticut College, city police said Thursday they have identified a 20-year-old Connecticut College student as a suspect.

Chief Peter Reichard said police interviewed the student and seized digital media from him Thursday. Reichard said police plan to apply for a warrant for his arrest once the seized files have been examined.

In an email sent to students Thursday, Connecticut College officials said they have “moved to separate the individual from the campus.”

Tiffany Thiele, the college’s national media relations manager, did not respond Thursday to requests for comment or questions about what actions the college has taken regarding the student.

The identification of the suspect came less than a day after The Day reported the five voyeurism incidents. According to emails sent to students, college officials said the victims of these incidents — all women — reported that cellphone cameras were pointed at them without their consent while they were preparing to shower. Two reports came in October, one in November, one in December and one on the night of Jan. 23.

Most of the dormitory bathrooms have three shower stalls. A changing area with a stall door separates each curtained shower from the main bathroom. All five victims said they were in the changing area when they saw a cellphone camera above or below the stall door.

While some of the women described the phones, hands or shoes they saw, none of the women saw the perpetrator.

In addition to the police investigation, the college has enlisted a private firm to investigate the incidents under Title IX, a law that prohibits sex-based discrimination within educational institutions that receive federal funding.

Conn College student Grace Amato — one of two organizers behind a campus group called Take Back Our Showers, formed to pressure the college administration to respond to the reports of voyeurism — said Thursday in a written statement to The Day that, though the identification of a suspect is a “promising development,” it is not enough.

“We believe as a community, Connecticut College members also need to address the ways we are all complicit in contributing to an environment where this can even happen in the first place (and where it continued to happen five reported times). Furthermore, we hope a public release of the suspect’s name will give some peace and justice to the survivors/victims of the incident,” Amato wrote.

Amato also said in her statement that the college informed her that it was working on installing temporary cameras in the Plant House hallways.

She wrote, “We are grateful (Conn College has) begun to work with students, especially our Student Government Association. However, we hope to see more discussion and prevention on campus around sexual harassment so we can continue to take this issue seriously.”

In its email to students Thursday, Conn College, citing privacy issues, directed further inquiries to New London police.

l.boyle@theday.com

m.biekert@theday.com

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