Non-student suspects caught in women’s locker room
On March 18, two non-affiliated juveniles were caught in the women’s lacrosse locker room in Forest Hall. The incident was reported to Campus Police three days later and was investigated by Officer Michael Petrie and Sergeant Mark Boisclair.
Junior Annarita Sanfilippo plays for the women’s lacrosse team and interrupted one of the juveniles in the locker room. “When I walked in on a stranger in the locker room my initial reaction was shock. I immediately stopped walking further and remember looking at him with a very concerned and confused look,” Sanfilippo said. “The suspect and I made direct eye contact and he then put his phone to his ear, pretending to be on a phone call and walked out. It was very suspicious and unlike anything I have ever seen.”
Once reported, Petrie and Boisclair collected CCTV video footage from the athletics suite in Forest Hall that showed two individuals in the area of the locker room. Stills of the video footage were posted on social media, looking for the public’s help providing information or identifying the two subjects. Sanfilippo saw the post on Instagram and said she was surprised to see footage of two individuals as she only encountered one individual in the locker room.
After posting, Petrie noticed two individuals fitting the description of those in the video while on patrol around campus. Petrie then contacted Boisclair and conducted a field interview. During this field interview, Petrie conducted a conversation with the individuals where information about the incident was provided, then allowing Petrie to confirm the individuals were the ones in the video and identification occurred.
“They’ve been trespassed,” Captain Robert Manning said. “They’re not allowed on university property anymore. They’ve been identified and because they’re juveniles, their parents have been identified and spoken to.”
Sanfilippo said Campus Police informed her when the suspects were identified and felt relieved, “I felt at ease when the Campus Police announced that they identified the suspects. It is good to know that our Campus Police can do their job quick and effectively in order to keep the Lasell community safe. I was concerned when I found out that it was high school students who were in the women’s locker room. Especially because it was late in the night.”
Despite no criminal charges being brought against the two individuals at this time, Campus Police shared Sanfilippo’s concern, saying this was not innocent and if the individuals disobey their consequences, they could face criminal charges in the future if warranted. Furthermore, Campus Police has no information as to why the non-affiliated juveniles entered the locker room or what their plans were once inside. “It was very suspicious in nature,” Manning said. “And when I say it wasn’t innocent, this was not just accidentally walk right to an area or using our field to play catch, to kick the soccer ball around, to throw the lacrosse ball around, play touch football. This was very mischievous behavior…which could be interpreted as being potentially criminal.”
In addition to praising Petrie and Boisclair for their legwork behind the scenes, Manning praised Sanfilippo for reporting the incident. “[Sanfilippo] deserves a tremendous amount of credit…It takes courage to report things…The fact that it was reported is a home run,” Manning said.
Even though the two individuals have been identified, Manning says following any type of incident on campus, the parties involved meet to discuss measures that could be put in place to prevent incidents like this in the future.
Following the incident, Director of Athletics Kristy Walter worked alongside Campus Police to implement safety measures in the locker rooms. Currently, the doors that provide access to the locker rooms and training rooms are unlocked daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. as coaches, trainers, and teams are consistently in the building. The doors remain unlocked during breaks.
“Maybe what I will do next year during spring break is not have [the doors] open and put whatever team is still here, put them on the swipe, which will help,” Walter said. In addition to this measure to be implemented during breaks, a new lock box with a key to the locker rooms has been installed in Forest.
Student-athletes and coaches have a code they enter into the box to access the key to lock and unlock the locker rooms. This was installed for both men’s and women’s locker rooms. Athletes have also been locking equipment in the back part of the locker room for extra protection.
“I think that puts us in a good spot,” Walter said about the lock boxes. Despite the extra precaution, Walter said “The teams have to do it…It’s their responsibility to lock those locker rooms when it’s down time. And I think putting their stuff in the back is helpful too, especially when there’s other people in there.”
Sanfilippo approves of these safety measures, however, says they “most definitely should have been installed before this situation had occurred.”
Walter praised Campus Police for getting the new lock boxes installed quickly, explained adding swipe access to the locker room is still being investigated, and that adjusting the time in which the doors to the locker rooms and training rooms are unlocked is also in the works.