DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County police admit they did not warn Emory University officials about two off-campus attacks on students until after the on-campus rape of a student, because they had no evidence at the time the two cases were connected. A third attempted sexual battery happened before the rape, but DeKalb police said the victim did not report it until after the rape occurred.
Both DeKalb and Emory police continue to search for the man who raped a student on the Emory campus on Feb. 11.
Detectives now believe that assailant may be responsible for three other crimes involving students in the area.
DeKalb police spokesperson Mekka Parish said the first crime was an off-campus simple battery case involving a student victim back in December. The second crime was an off-campus attempted sexual battery also involving a student. Parish said detectives did not think the two were connected. She said they even have charges pending in the second case against a man currently held in the DeKalb County Jail on an unrelated crime. That is why, she said, they never alerted neighbors or Emory University.
"So at that point, nothing rose to the level where we thought there was a connection, and nothing rose to the level that we thought it was pertinent to send an alert to that community," said Parish.
Since then, detectives believe all the cases could be related.
Some Emory students said the crimes have them worried enough that they're traveling in groups or not at all.
"We travel in packs," said Emory Freshman Maya Ahuja. "We're just being smarter about our behavior late at night especially when this kind of stuff is happening."
"There's been a lot of talk about it," said Emory freshman Nicole Stangl. "People are trying to be more careful, and they don't want to walk alone at night."
Even some Druid Hills residents expressed concerns over the crimes.
"It's really scary because the attempt was right back here behind me," said Druid Hills resident Robin Angel. "It's something that doesn't ever happen here. It actually made me get out my can of Mace. I'm carrying Mace. For the first time I'm carrying my Mace in a while."