Montgomery College rape suspect is a former student at school
The man suspected of raping a 19-year-old student in a Montgomery College bathroom had briefly been a student and biology tutor at the school, a school administrator said in a statement Friday. Nathaniel L. Hart, 34, took one class last year at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus of the school, where the assault was reported Tuesday.
Read the full statement, which also provides more details of the arrest.
Statement by Montgomery College Interim President Dr. Hercules Pinkney Concerning Assault
at Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus on January 26, 2010
Montgomery College Community,
The assault on one of our students on Tuesday, January 26 was a horrible, devastating crime, and our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. We also understand that members of our College community may need support to deal with emotions brought on by this incident. We urge faculty, staff and students to reach out for support. The Counseling and Advising Offices at the campuses are available to help students, and the Faculty Staff Assistance Program is available for College faculty and staff.
As the community’s college, we face the difficult challenge of balancing the need for open access with our priority of safety and security. We understand that for our faculty, staff and students to succeed, we must have an environment that not only is safe but also feels safe. To this end, the review of our security and emergency communication procedures is a top priority for everyone at the College. We have already implemented several enhancements to security.
At the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, we took the initial step of locking the doors to the campus performing arts center and the health sciences center that open along Georgia Avenue. This will limit entrances to the buildings. We have also locked the doors to the restrooms on the second floor of the performing arts center. All students, faculty, and staff will be asked to use the first floor restrooms. During public theatre performances or other events, the restrooms and the doors along Georgia Avenue will be opened.
Since Tuesday, the College has also reviewed its records to see what connection Nathaniel L. Hart, the man arrested in connection with this crime, might have to Montgomery College. We have learned that, in the spring semester of 2009, he came to the College as a transfer student from the University of the District of Columbia. During that semester, he took one class at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. In addition, he worked on campus for three months as a temporary student assistant, tutoring biology students for the equivalent of two weeks’ time. After spring 2009, he did not enroll in classes nor conduct any work for the College.
On January 15, 2010, one of the security support staff members at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus spotted Nathaniel Hart in the women’s restroom of the Student Services Center as security was preparing to lock up for the night. Hart appeared to have wanted a warm place to spend the night. A security officer questioned Hart and asked for identification. Hart cooperated and provided an outdated student identification card. The officer then proceeded to escort Hart off campus and instructed him not to return.
Later that evening, Hart was seen on campus, and security immediately placed a call to the Takoma Park Police Department to pursue a trespassing order. When police arrived, Hart had already left campus.
On January 26, after notification of the assault on the student, the same Montgomery College security officer reviewed surveillance video of the performing arts center and identified Hart in the video – an important step towards his eventual arrest.
An initial review of the College’s emergency response proved that the use of multiple communication tools was effective. Campus security systematically went building-to-building to lock down the campus, while the campus vice president and provost sent the first e-mail message to faculty and staff asking everyone to shelter-in-place. At the same time, the director of emergency planning sent the first Montgomery College ALERT.
In addition to the alerts, the College communicated during the incident through e-mail, the College Web site, MyMC, the response center, and voicemail. The College also reached out to the local news media for assistance in getting the word out. By 9:30 p.m., Montgomery College had issued five messages, including the announcement of the suspect’s arrest.
As we continue our review, we ask everyone to e-mail your input or recommendations to the College’s director of emergency planning, Bob Wirth, at: Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org. The College also intends to continue to communicate information about our plans and any additional strategies that develop. We understand that there can never be too much information when the safety and security of our College community is involved.
If you want to learn more about Montgomery College’s Emergency Operations Plan, visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/emergency.
Finally, please take the time to sign up for Montgomery College ALERT, our communications system that sends e-mails or text messages in the event of emergencies, campus or College closures, or weather-related events. You may sign up online at: https://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov/register.php. If you already have an account, please check your registration to ensure that all your contact information is up to date.
Thank you for pulling together as a College this week.
Dr. Hercules Pinkney
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