AMHERST, Mass (WGGB) – The UMass community is reacting to news of an alleged rape outside the campus center last month.
It happened back in the early hours of September 2, but word of the attack is just spreading across campus.
Patrick Durocher, 18, of Longmeadow is charged with aggravated rape in the case. He allegedly attacked a female fellow student in the middle of campus, outside the north side of the Campus Center.
It was the first weekend of the semester, and according to court documents, the victim was on her way home from a party between 12 and 1 a.m.
The victim told police soon after leaving a North Pleasant Street party, she headed towards the Campus Center, where she heard someone ask where she was going.
According to a police report, the next thing the victim remembers is allegedly being forced against a tree by Durocher. She says he bit her neck, forced and held her to the ground, and raped her.
The report goes on to note that others passing by witnessed the incident and thought it was suspicious, so they pulled the victim away from Durocher.
Police were called and officers arrested Durocher on scene.
The victim was rushed to the hospital, while both in and out of consciousness. She told police at times during the struggle, it was difficult for her to breath.
Officers wrote in their report that her injuries were visible, including red marks to her neck. The girl told police she didn’t know Durocher and he wasn’t at the same party she was leaving.
Students on campus say such a brazen attack is chilling.
“That’s really scary. That worries me a lot,” Senior Kelli Sheehan said. “Because I actually, like right now, I’m walking alone, so if it was later and darker, that’s really scary.”
“You just go about your normal activity and then when you hear about something like that, you are like ‘wow that could have been me,’” Senior Ali Haddad said.
Most students say they’re surprised UMass didn’t send out a campus alert, like they’ve done after similar incidents in the past.
In a statement, the school said it was not necessary because “The UMass Amherst Police made a prompt arrest in the case and the alleged assailant was immediately referred for disciplinary action through the campus judicial system.”
UMass spokesperson Daniel Fitzgibbons adds that Durocher “is no longer a student at UMass Amherst.”
Durocher was charged with aggravated rape and held on $10,000 bail at a dangerousness hearing.
Despite the quick arrest, even upperclassmen say the attack is a harsh reminder to be careful.
“Definitely…I’m going to go home right now and tell all of my roommates and from now on, I’m just going to go back to my old ways of being a freshman and not walking alone outside at night,” Haddad said.
Should Durocher make bail, Payne ruled he must adhere to certain conditions, including GPS monitoring, a curfew from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., not leaving Massachusetts, have no contact with the victim, live with his parents, and stay away from the UMass campus.
ABC40 reached out to Durocher via phone, but did not hear back Thursday night. He’s due back in court next month.
Before this incident, the campus had already launched “UMatter at UMass,” a training effort to help faculty and staff assist students in a wide range of efforts, including sexual assault.
“The safety of our students, staff and faculty is paramount and our police department patrols the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Fitzgibbons adds. “As a community, UMass Amherst strives to promote safety, respect and personal responsibility in every aspect of student life.”