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Flyers warn SMC of rape incident

Angela Saoud | Thursday, January 29, 2004

Saint Mary’s security officers have posted flyers around campus displaying the picture of and additional information about Jerry Hillegas, a convicted rapist who approached two women on another all-female campus Jan. 13.

Hillegas, on two separate occasions and under the pretense of asking for directions, approached two women at Grace College in Warsaw, Ind., and asked them to get into his car. Neither woman was injured.

“We want to make sure everyone is given the information but understands that we have no indication that he is coming this way,” said Dave Chapman, director of Saint Mary’s security. “We’re in a mobile society, and what we want to do at this point is make everyone aware of what has happened.”

Saint Mary’s junior Meredith Gramann said she was surprised last week when she saw Hillegas’ face and information posted in her dorm.

“I was alarmed at the fact that this man could be on our campus,” Gramann said. “It sort of got posted without much explanation, and it didn’t appear on the Internet site until a few days later.”

Chapman insisted all three campuses are safe and the posters are just a precaution. He said Saint Mary’s has rarely had problems with intruders on campus, and no incidents have occurred during his three months of employment at the College.

A Jan. 16 report in the Warsaw Times-Union newspaper, however, said Christian colleges and college sporting events are supposedly a favorite place in which Hillegas targets victims.

Hillegas’ prior convictions include rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, criminal confinement, battery and attempted battery.

He was last seen driving a 2002 silver Buick Regal four door with the Indiana Plate 35A9347. He was also previously seen driving a 1996 blue Chevy Lumina four door with the Indiana Plate 35B7621.

Chapman offered suggestions for anyone who sees Hillegas or anything suspicious on campus.

“If you see him, or anything that doesn’t seem right, call security and give us as much information as you can,” Chapman said. “In these situations, we’d rather be safe than sorry.”