Man attacks UVM custodian

It was a typical Thursday night for a UVM custodial employee until a man grabbed her from behind in a third-floor bathroom of Old Mill.UVM Police Services responded to the call at 8:55 p.m. on Jan. 28 reporting that a man had jumped out of a bathroom stall and attacked the custodian for erasing his graffiti.According to a UVM Police Services report, the suspect is described as a 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall male with a medium skin tone who looked to be in his mid-20s or 30s.Police Services also described him as having dark, curly hair with a single braided cornrow going down the center of his head.The custodian said she was routinely cleaning off graffiti when he grabbed her hair and said that he would kill her if she continued to remove it.Timothy Bilodeau, captain of Police Operations at UVM, said that while graffiti has been going on in multiple areas of Old Mill, it has occurred in larger spikes in that particular bathroom.Bilodeau is unsure, though, if the graffiti in Old Mill was drawn by the same person and by the attacker who assaulted the custodial employee.”We try to match up different types of graffiti and see what kinds of things have been written to connect separate investigations,” he said.This has not been the first confrontation between the suspect and the victim, Bilodeau confirmed.In October, the victim was verbally confronted but unharmed by a man whom she believes was the same person who attacked her on Jan. 28.The victim also said that other custodians have seen the suspect in other campus buildings, including Waterman and Kalkin.According to a six-year review report on the UVM Police Services website, the trend of crimes against an individual in recent years has actually decreased.In 2007, 38 were reported to UVM Police Services and in 2008, 29 were reported. However, this fiscal year, only 18 have been reported so far.Although the suspect has not been caught, Police Services is taking this matter very seriously.Students on campus heard about the assault through a press release dispersed by UVM Police Department, yet sophomores Samantha Milwich and Liz Lagasse were unaware of the details of the assault.”I don’t like public bathrooms to begin with, but after hearing about it, I definitely wouldn’t go alone,” Milwich said.Walking alone on campus at night was also never a concern for Lagasse, but she said she would think twice about it next time.According to a campus safety Clery Report on the UVM Police Services website, there are a number of steps that students can take to protect themselves.Avoiding dark, isolated areas and telling a friend where you are going and when you will return are two ways to avoid putting yourself at risk, especially when alone on campus at night in any building.This is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Police Services at (802) 656-3473 or by email at [email protected]