Cerritos College issued out a campus safety alert on Monday at around 8:30 p.m., when an act of sexual battery was committed on campus to a female student, as she was on her way to the restroom.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, dark complexion, short, black hair with no facial hair and around 20 to 22 years old.
According to Tom Gallivan, the Cerritos College Police Department Captain, “On Monday at 5:30 p.m. a female student reported that she had been a victim of a sexual battery. The victim was in the Learning Resources Center, near the Teleconference room.
“A male suspect approached her and attempted to engage her in conversation. The suspect grabbed the victim’s breast through her clothing, as she walked into the bathroom, and then fled on foot.”
Linda Lacy, the Cerritos College President, praised campus police’s initiative on sending the alert out in a swift manner, as she was adamant about sending out awareness for such a situation.
“I received a phone call at about 9:30 p.m. (on Monday). When we got a report of sexual battery, we put out the alert immediately, so that all (of the) campus can be aware of the situation,” Lacy said.
“We wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be any heightened activity and we wanted everybody to be aware of that.
“That’s one of the things that we do very proactively. As soon as we got that report last night, we put the alert out.”
And proactive the approach was, as campus police already made flyers warning about what had occurred prevalent among the campus.
Gallivan said that this is still an ongoing investigation, and that the suspect already looked at video footage to see if she could identify the victim, but she couldn’t.
However, Gallivan did note that at the time of the report, the victim claimed the same suspect had confronted her a week before this initial encounter occurred.
“The suspect tried to engage her in conversation and then slapped her on the buttocks, through her clothing, as she walked away,” he said.
With such a general description, Gallivan said that “there is not to go a lot on,” and that the goal is “to maintain high visibility on campus” in order to keep the campus safe.
“We want people to know that we are out there. We are asking the faculty and the students to keep their eyes open, be aware of your surroundings.”
Lacy said that although the situation is obviously one that would want to be avoided, its occurrence still proves how effective the procedures are for such a scenario, and that it proves the campus is a safe place to be.
“I think this didn’t escalate any further because of the proactive approach that we take with (these situations). We get the information out to people to be alert, to be prepared for that.
“I think when you do that type of thing, it helps discourage those type of activities on campus. If you have a campus this large, you can’t really say that we can prevent everything from occurring on an open campus, unless you put fences around it and prohibited entrance and exit. We have a sworn police force that is proactive about all these reports.
“The safety of our students is our primary concern.”
The campus police provides an escort service for individuals who feel uncertain, such as going to one’s car during night time.
The number is a direct line to the dispatch center and it is 562-402-3674.