Jacksonville police investigate reported sexual battery at downtown campus
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.. – Police have released a surveillance image in the hopes of identifying a man who they say sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy last month at the Florida State College of Jacksonville.
The incident was reported to have happened Feb. 20 in a bathroom at the college’s downtown campus on West State Street, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.
News of the incident became public after a viewer contacted the I-TEAM over concerns about possible crimes at Stillwell Middle School on the Westside. A request of JSO incident reports involving students included the report of last month’s sexual battery on a middle school student at FSCJ.
Learning of the assault prompted several questions, including why it took JSO a week to report the assault to school officials and why police did not alert the public immediately. The Sheriff’s Office issued this statement Tuesday afternoon:
The case is actively being worked. Initially, there were technical issues that prevented the detective from obtaining a copy of the video, causing a delay. The investigation is active so no additional information will be released at this time.”
The victim told police he was in the men’s restroom near Building A when a stranger approached. A security guard interrupted a brief confrontation and told the man to leave. The victim said that once the security guard left, the stranger pushed him into a bathroom stall and forced him to perform a sex act, then threatened him.
The boy didn’t report the incident until the next day, when he became upset at school.
Police are looking for a man, 40 to 50 years old, who is about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with dark hair and a raspy voice. The victim said his attacker was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans and smelled of smoke.
Students, faculty and staff at the Florida State College of Jacksonville were alerted through email and posted bulletins across campus more than a week after the attack, when the college was made aware of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigation.
“FSCJ is dismayed by the unfortunate report of an incident that took place at one of our campuses. We pride ourselves on keeping a safe learning and working environment for our students, faculty and staff, including improved security measures and training opportunities for our College community. Upon notification by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) about the reported incident, FSCJ immediately notified the students, faculty and staff of the reported incident via email and posted bulletins on campus. We will continue to assist the JSO with their investigation as needed until a suspect has been identified.” – Jill Johnson, college spokeswoman.
Anyone who sees the man on campus is asked to call Campus Security at 904-633-8200. The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who can help identify the man call 904-630-0500.
FSCJ students told News4Jax that they feel comfortable on campus.
“I just feel very safe. I’ve been coming here since August. I’m not seeing anything that would cause me any concern about coming to FSCJ,” freshman LaWanda Crawford said.
“It is well protected,” student Nolan Menze said of the campus. “Security knows what they are doing.”
Since the first of the year, JSO data shows there have been a few dozen police calls within 1,000 feet of the downtown campus. That includes 32 thefts, 18 assaults, eight robberies, one car theft and one case of vandalism.