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Office urges caution for students

University officials sent out an e-mail to all students late Friday providing a description of a Durham man wanted in an off-campus sexual assault of a Duke student last Thursday, as well as a sketch of a man who might have information about a similar incident in the same neighborhood.

In addition, further details about an on-campus Sept. 1 alleged rape of an 18-year-old visitor by a 21-year-old Duke student have still not been released.

The e-mail, sent by the Dean of Students' office, included two Durham police reports; one described the alleged perpetrator in Thursday's attack on Wilkerson Avenue, and the other described a man who may have information about a July 1 sexual assault on the same street, and who may be connected with the Sept. 5 incident.

Investigators describe the alleged perpetrator as a black man with a medium build, wearing blue jeans and a shirt. They describe the other individual as a black man, 35 to 40 years old, 5'8" to 5'9" tall, 175 pounds with a medium complexion and a scraggly, unkempt beard. He was wearing a white baseball cap with blue lettering, a red windbreaker nylon jacket over a gray sweatshirt, over a yellow T-shirt. He was also wearing dark blue or black adidas nylon pants, gray socks and black basketball shoes or boots.

"The assault on the student is troubling to all of us, and we are committed to making our community as safe as possible," the e-mail read. "Please follow the precautions advised by Durham Police-and please call us if we may be of assistance."

The e-mail also reminded students of resources available to help those affected by acts of violence.

Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek said the e-mail was sent to provide information meant to help both on-campus and off-campus students in the area.

"We understood that there had been another sexual assault in [the Wilkerson Avenue] area fairly recently," Wasiolek said. "There are several groups of students that live in that immediate vicinity and the area is in close proximity to East Campus. We wanted to give all the information we had to students."

Meanwhile, Duke University Police Department officials have not released any further information about the Sept. 1 incident in which a female visitor reported that between midnight and 5:30 a.m. she was raped by a male student in his West Campus dorm room.

Police have identified the suspect but have not released his name. Maj. Robert Dean said last week the victim had gone to the hospital but appeared to be physically all right. He would not say whether alcohol was involved, but did indicate the victim probably knew her attacker.

"In major cases it can take weeks or even months to investigate," Dean wrote in an e-mail. "However, we have pretty much completed our investigation in this case. We have been in contact with the District Attorney's Office. And at this time we are waiting to see how the victim wish[es] to proceed, whether criminally or [through the] Judicial Board."

Wasiolek said her office has also not received any further details on the incident, but said she was confident the police would make every effort to share as much information as quickly as they could, while at the same time respecting the wishes of the victim.

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