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Five indecent exposure incidents reported near campus

By Abigail Gardener and Elianna Spitzer

Section: News

February 5, 2016

There have been five reported incidents of indecent exposure off-campus since mid-November. All of the incidents occurred between approximately 10 and 10:30 p.m. and involved a man exposing himself to one or more students.

The locations of the incidents vary, but South Street is a common factor. Some of the locations included South Street near the power plant (0 miles from campus), near Shakespeare Road (.2 miles) and near Wheelock Road and William F. Stanley Elementary (364 feet). An incident was also reported near 110 Angleside Road (.4 miles).

Each incident was followed by an email from Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan. Emails sent after the flashings included a description of the perpetrator, descriptions of the location where the incident occurred and a word of caution from Callahan himself. As of now, Callahan also requests that any information regarding these incidents or suspicious activity be reported to the Brandeis Police so that the campus community can be updated.

This is not the first time that indecent exposures have occurred near or on campus. “We have had to address this issue in the past. This is a societal issue that has occurred for years, unfortunately, and is not unique to Brandeis or the city of Waltham,” said Callahan in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

The Department of Public Safety is working in conjunction with the Waltham Police to investigate these incidents further. Brandeis police officers do not have jurisdiction off-campus which makes their work with the Waltham Police vital to putting an end to the exposures.

Callahan speaks daily with the Waltham Police about these incidents. “We have a strong working relationship with them,” he wrote.

It is unknown whether there are multiple flashers; the descriptions of the men vary. Callahan could not disclose any specific information about the investigation as it is still active. However, according to the Waltham Public Arrest List, there was one incident of indecent exposure relatively recently, in September of 2015. The perpetrator in that case does not match the estimated age of the current suspect(s). He is 64 while the possible suspects in the five Brandeis-affiliated incidents are thought to be in their mid 20s or 30s.

If caught, the perpetrator will be subject to Massachusetts Commonwealth Law. According to General Law, “persons guilty of indecent exposure shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than $200, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

While the investigation continues, Callahan wants students to know the Department of Public Safety has taken action and that various resources are available to them.

Public Safety has “sent out broadcast emails to campus after each event to alert the Brandeis community, increased patrols of all pertinent areas, informed our campus partners in the Department of Community Living, Student Life, the Rape Crisis Center and the Psychological Counseling Center to help them be prepared to help those students have been affected by incidents,” said Callahan.

The Office of Prevention Services has been working with Brandeis police to provide assistance to students who have been affected by these incidents, according to Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Specialist Sheila McMahon, who also said that they have been working with Brandeis Police.

“We are happy to help any students who need further assistance in terms of organizing rides and/or walking buddies,” she said in an email to The Hoot. “I have found Brandeis Police to be very helpful and responsive to students who have concerns or have been impacted in any way by these incidents.”

Resources are readily available to any students who have already been affected by any of these incidents. Students harassed off-campus can contact Waltham Police for immediate assistance by dialing 781-314-3600 and should also report the incident to the Brandeis Police (781-736-3333) so the community can be updated. The Rape Crisis Center, located in Usdan, is open from 12-5 p.m. on weekdays and also has an after-hours urgent care line (781-736-3370) for students who have experienced any kind of sexual harassment or misconduct.

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