An intruder followed a Cal State University Long Beach student into an off-campus housing building and groped him in the stairwell, according to CSULB Police.
The incident happened Sunday morning around 9:45 am at the University's housing complex known as Beachside College, on Pacific Coast Highway about a mile from the main CSULB campus.
The 34-year-old student was sitting on the front lawn studying when he became aware of someone sitting down next to him, said Lt. Richard Goodwin. The intruder then put his arm around the student, who got up and walked away with the intruder following him through the door into the building.
"As our victim was going up the stairs, the suspect grabbed his groin area from behind," Goodwin said.
He characterized the crime as sexual battery. The intruder then left as the student notified a dorm official.
Police do not think the perpetrator was another student -- instead suspecting he may be an area transient.
CSULB Police sent out digital alerts to around 40,000 recipients in the campus community, and a University executive sent a follow-up email.
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"This incident serves as a reminder of the need to be mindful of your surroundings," stated Carmen Taylor, Vice President, CSULB Student Affairs.
"It's actually pretty scary to think about someone following you into the building," said Andrea Dominguez, a CSULB sophomore who lives in Beachside, which has rooms for students and apartments for faculty members. She and other students questioned whether security could be tightened.
Beachside College is fenced and gated, but the gate arms of the parking lot entrance are easily circumvented on foot, and the adjacent pedestrian gate is routinely left open.
There are two residential buildings. The one nearest the front parking lot and lawn, Pacific, has a lobby and service desk, and cardkey entry is usually not required during daytime hours, students said.
"Basically, anyone could come in," said sophomore Sarah Avila.
It is different in the back building, Atlantic, where the victim stays. Atlantic does require cardkey for entry at all times, said Terri Carbaugh, CSULB Associate Vice President for Public Affairs.
It appears Sunday's intruder followed the victim closely enough to get inside before the door closed behind him, according to both Carbaugh and Goodwin.
Housing officials intend to have discussions with students about security questions and suggestions, Carbaugh said.
Police descibed the perpetrator as mid to late 20s, 6 feet tall, and weighing about 160 pounds. He had blue eyes and short light brown hair and was wearing blue jeans and a dark shirt at the time of the incident.
Police are hopeful of finding him on Beachside's security camera video.