Feb 062012
Authors: Erin Udell

Police are still looking for a man who they believe was involved in two Jan. 13 “peeping Tom” incidents at CSU and Poudre High School.

And while this was the first kind of peeping incident at PHS, it was CSU’s fifth in one year.

The 6-foot tall, college-aged male suspect was first spotted in the women’s locker room in Moby’s B Wing at 9:54 a.m. before he covered his face and ran from the building’s south-side exit. He was later seen in PHS at 10:34 a.m.

“It’s creepy,” said Hannah St Louis, a senior health and exercise science major. “Being in this major (HES), you have to take three or four classes a semester (in Moby) where you change out.”

CSUPD has posted fliers of security camera photos of the suspect outside of the locker room and around Moby — a building CSUPD Lt. Frank Johnson said is easier to get into unseen compared to highly-populated and key card-restricted residence halls.

“I think he needs help,” St Louis added. “I mean, who does that?”

According to Michael Steger, an associate professor in CSU’s psychology department, peeping Toms may be people who have the psychological diagnosis of Voyeurism, a form of sexual deviancy (or paraphilias).

“Voyeurism is categorized as paraphilias that targets non-consenting people,” Steger said in an email to the Collegian. “So people with voyeurism are rarely satisfied by looking at people who are knowingly appearing nude or in their underwear.”

In several of the five cases on campus, the peeping Tom suspects, who are not expected to be the same suspect as the one photographed this month, were seen by women in either the campus recreation center locker rooms or those in Moby.

“The potential impact on survivors of sexual assault –– knowing that there is someone who is intentionally seeking out women as a peeping Tom ­–– can definitely heighten a survivor’s sense of safety,” said Director for the Women and Gender Advocacy Center Kathy Sisneros, in an email to the Collegian.

According to Sisneros, a primary or secondary survivor may intentionally avoid areas where the suspects had been spotted in an effort to control their environment.

“This also means that friends should not minimize when another friend is saying that they simply do not feel comfortable going to the rec center, or to Moby,” she added.

For those affected by the incidents, anyone is allowed to call, email or walk into the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. The university counseling center is also an option for students needing support.

Despite the high concentration of incidents in a short period of time, CSU is not the only university to see peeping Tom crimes in recent weeks.

Boston University experienced two different incidents within two days starting on Jan. 22. According to university spokesman Colin Riley, female students reported seeing first a Blackberry and then an iPhone being held under a shower curtain and bathroom stall in a residence hall bathroom.

Wallace Pidgeon, the spokesman for York University, said the Toronto-based school also received reports of inappropriate photography for the first time on Jan. 16. Since then, there have been three more incidents in women’s restrooms across York’s campus.

“It’s disturbing, it’s heinous, and it’s just plain wrong,” Pidgeon said. “I just don’t get it.”

Pidgeon added that the university’s security department has responded to each incident and is increasing security personnel, foot patrol, surveillance and monitoring.

“Safety and security are North American campus issues and everybody faces them,” Pidgeon said. “University campuses are home, and not just in a sense of where students come to reside during college.”

According to Lt. Johnson, one of the best things a student can do in times of increased crime is to stay diligent.

“We want everyone to be aware of their surroundings,” Johnson said. “Do things in numbers, and have friends with you.”

Students are also asked to call CSUPD if they think they see anything suspicious.

“Call us immediately,” Johnson said. “Even if you’re unsure, give us call. If it turns out to be nothing, great. If it is something, we’ll deal with it.”

Johnson added that CSU is also looking into increased security in the form of possible security cameras in Moby hallways, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Anyone with knowledge of the Jan. 13 peeping Tom spotting is encouraged to contact Det. Chris Melvin at CSUPD at 970-491-2013.

Collegian News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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