Just in the past week, on Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, students received two timely warnings regarding a man who has been consistently exposing himself to female students, both on and off campus. The description of this man has proven to be the same nearly every time: a male, in his 40s, bald head and glasses, with a gut. In some cases he’s stepped out of alleyways nude or partially nude, and in others he’s exposed himself inside of his car.
Though none of the victims have been physically harmed, these crimes are still considered to be sexual misconduct. It is a scarring situation that no one ever deserves to be in.
This same man committed similar crimes last semester as well, exposing himself to one female student one night, and two more just one night later. The two victims that witnessed the crime on Dec. 6, 2015 agreed to tell me their story in more detail. For their safety, I will simply call them Victim A and Victim B.
The two students were walking down South Darlington Street late that night after seeing some friends. They said that, even though it was late, they were in a quiet, peaceful, residential area close enough to the campus that they could see the Tyson dorm room.
While they were walking, they saw two male college students walking their way, neither of which seemed at all harmful.
Once they passed them, however, Victim B saw a large, dark car, backing up at an alarming speed and parking in an alleyway. Victim A claimed it was nothing to worry about, and they were so close to the campus they felt relatively safe.
A moment later, however, the two victims stopped dead in their tracks when they saw the man walk out, his completely nude body illuminating underneath the streetlight. He proceeded to masturbate in front of the two girls, watching them while he did it.
“I couldn’t control it,” Victim B explained. “I screamed so loud. I’ve never screamed like that. It just came out.”
Victim A said it was a startling sight but didn’t know what to do.
“I couldn’t comprehend it. I just sort of watched it happen,” said Victim A. It wasn’t until my friend screamed that I realized just how insane of a situation we were in. I knew we had to get out of there.”
Victim A took Victim B’s arm and the two ran in the opposite direction of the man, away from campus and towards their friends’ home.
“I kept looking back every few paces,” said Victim B. “We slowed down once I saw that he was gone. From there we just tried to figure out what to do.”
Victim A called one of their friends, but was too shaken up to realize where they were in proximity to him, and put Victim B on the phone to try to give him a location.
“We had seen the two college guys duck into an alley,” said Victim B. “We didn’t want to walk by there, so we were stuck between there and the block where the guy flashed us.”
Finally, two of the victims’ friends found the girls and booked it to make sure they were safe. The four of them walked back to their friends’ house where their friends told them to call public safety. A few moments later, a cop showed up and joined the victims and their friends on the porch to discuss what happened.
After Victim B explained the details of the event, she said the cop said the most insane thing.
“He told us that this guy has been flashing people for 10, maybe 12 years. Years! This has been going on for that long and nobody’s caught him?”
As one could imagine, this news came as a shock to both the victims and their friends, who agreed with the officer that someone should “beat the sh*t out of that guy.”
The victims stayed in their friends’ place for the night, far from the street where the incident had occurred. The next morning, they saw the timely alert pop up on their phones.
Victim A described what it felt like to have been the ones to report the crime.
“It was such a strange feeling, seeing that. We were in line at Einstein’s and everyone had seen it, but no one knew that it was us,” said Victim A.
“Of course we had finals that week,” Victim B said, jokingly. “It was quite an end to the semester.”
But it didn’t end quickly after that. Victim A was getting calls while in class from the West Chester Police Department, asking if she and the other victim would come in to give more detail. The two went in the next day and were interviewed by a detective who recorded all the information they could give.
The day the two victims left for break, they had heard that Channel 6 had reported their story anonymously, giving the location, time, and description of the incident that they provided the police.
“It felt good to know that we could give them information—like about his car—that they didn’t have before,” said Victim A.
Though their information has proved useful, police are still working on identifying him. As of now, it is still an active investigation.
“When I get the timely alerts, I just get so mad,” said Victim B. “I know what that’s like, and it shouldn’t keep happening. I just don’t understand why no one has caught him yet.”
The two victims say that this incident, though they were not harmed, has changed the way they walk around campus.
Victim A claimed, “We don’t go anywhere without a guy friend if we’re walking around at night. Not until this guy gets caught. Just walking by Darlington in the daylight freaks us out. We’ll always be on edge.”
Samantha Mineroff is a second-year student majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.