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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

UPDATE: Flasher turns himself in to Public Safety

Published: September 23, 2010
Section: Front Page

Flasher: A naked man has been seen twice in one month inside the empty Harlan Chapel.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

UPDATE: A Brandeis community member has notified university officials that he was the person exposing himself inside the Harlan Chapel during two incidents in the past month, according to a statement from Ed Callahan, director of public safety.

Callahan has referred the case to the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Once the Dean’s Office conducts an investigation, public safety will decide whether to take further action, Callahan wrote.

Witnesses originally had seen a naked man standing inside an empty Harlan Chapel for the second time in less than a month late Monday afternoon, Callahan said in an interview Thursday. In response to the incident, the university had added uniformed and plain-clothes patrol officers and activated electronic key card access to all three on-campus chapels.

The suspect was a “black male in his 20s with close-cropped hair” and matches the description of the suspect in a similar incident on Aug. 26, the first day of classes, according to a statement from Callahan.

“Something like this should not happen outside or inside a place of worship,” Callahan said, explaining that the action was especially offensive due to the location where it occured.

The man was standing without any clothes on inside the chapel facing towards Loop Road, and in the first incident, the witnesses notified authorities immediately. This week, the witnesses waited until Tuesday to inform campus police.

“Our responsibility is to educate and inform of any suspicious occurrences that could impact the community,” Callahan said.

The university has also informed the Waltham Police Department about the incident and is investigating it.

Considering the similarities of both occurrences, Callahan said it is “possible that it’s the same individual.”

Paul Bae ’13 told The Hoot he saw two individuals matching the description of the suspect walking outside on the sidewalk by the chapels, and that “they didn’t seem like people related to the school.”

Bae could not recall whether he saw the two men on Monday or Tuesday late afternoon and emphasized that he did not know whether they were the suspects.

After installing the electronic key system, the university activated it this week after the incident because it takes time to update the system and also because it wanted the chapels to be open for the religious holidays this past month, Callahan said.

Esther Edwin ’13 said that she thought some people were over-reacting to the incident, referencing rumors that she heard the man was streaking near the chapel.

“People have blown it out of proportion,” Edwin said. “The e-mails are causing too much hype.”

“This is a really safe campus and public safety works hard to continue that,” said Andrew Gully, senior vice president of communications and external affairs.

He said that the university informs the community of incidents like the one this week “so that people can assist Public Safety.”

Harlan Chapel, the Protestant chapel, is one of three chapels on campus, including the Berlin Chapel (Jewish) and Bethlehem Chapel (Catholic). The Chapels are located across a field from the Rosenthal Residence Quad and the Massell Residence Quad.