George Mason University students concerned about lack of immediate alerts on recent campus crimes
FAIRFAX, Va. - Days after arrests were made after bomb-making materials were found in a George Mason University dorm room, there are new concerns as campus police are investigating a pair of reported sexual assaults. Two students said they were raped in separate incidents on different days.
Now, some students are upset because the university did not send them campus alerts quick enough in both the firebomb case and the reported sexual assaults.
The criminal charges brought against the three students in the bomb-making and drug case is separate from the alleged sexual assaults. But students said they share a common problem and it is compromising their safety.
It took four days for a security alert to go out on the bomb-making case and an alert for the first alleged sexual assault was sent four days after it happened.
George Mason students said their university is dragging its feet when it comes to alerting them about criminal activity in their own community.
"I was really concerned because it kind of made it seem it wasn't a big deal," said student Allison Reichgl.
"When it comes to a situation where they are finding materials on campus that could put people's lives in danger, there needs to be more immediate notification," said Katora Cosby.
"If something like that happens, I would want to be alerted just so I know and I'm aware of my surroundings," said Nouha Merzoug.
"I definitely think there is a concern in that regards, but I would have like to have known personally," said Laura Freeman.
Campus police said two students reported being raped in separate attacks four days apart. The first happened on St. Patrick's Day when a student said she was raped by a student after she ingested an unidentified drug.
The second sexual assault happened on Monday in a dorm room on campus. The victim said she was raped by a male she met though an online dating app.
Last week, three students were criminally charged after police discovered drugs and firebomb-making materials inside a dorm room at Jefferson Hall on campus.
George Mason Interim Police Chief Thomas Longo said security alerts were sent out on the sexual assault cases when investigators had reached the proper stage in their probe to do so.
The firebomb alerts were not sent until FOX 5 reported the case because police said there was no immediate threat to students on campus.
"In terms of the bomb-making materials discovered, there was no risk to the community at that time," Longo said. "The components were in an inert state. There was no chance of them exploding. There was no reason to notify the community about what would be a very sensitive investigation, which is ongoing, so I can't get into details there.
"With regard to the sexual assault issues, those are of concern to the community because that kind of thing can occur again."
George Mason University Police are warning students against meeting people they do not know on social media sites and from drinking or ingesting substances they do not know.
So far, no arrests have been made in the rape cases, but police said they would like to hear from anyone who may have information on the cases.