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Memorandum October 31, 2022

American University Community
Phillip Morse, Assistant Vice President, University Police and Emergency Management
Incident in Leonard Hall and Ongoing Investigation

Dear AU Community,

Today at approximately 2:00 a.m., an individual was reported entering two different rooms in Leonard Hall without permission or authorization. Staff from Residence Life and Housing and AUPD immediately responded to evaluate the scene and support the students. One student from the rooms involved reported being sexually assaulted. All four students living in the two rooms have been engaged by the appropriate campus teams for support, including the Office of Equity and Title IX. AUPD is working with the DC Metropolitan Police, including their sex crimes unit, and the investigation is ongoing. This work includes reviewing video footage from the building, obtaining witness statements, and collecting physical evidence from the scene.

The individual who entered the rooms is described as a tall, slender, white male with brown hair, late teens/early 20s, and approximately 6 feet tall. If any member of the community has information about this incident, please immediately call the AUPD investigations line at 202-885-2999 or provide anonymous tips through the Rave Guardian Safety app.

The safety of our community is a top priority and any incident that affects students in the residence halls that are their home at American University is treated with the highest importance. Violence, including any form of sexual assault, is not acceptable and incidents such as this are never the victim’s fault. AUPD is increasing patrols around the north side residence halls, additional staff from Residence Life will be onsite in Leonard Hall, and additional front desk coverage will be provided in Leonard, Hughes, and McDowell halls. Campus safety services, including the Rave Guardian Safety app and campus escort services, are available to support the community.

A reminder to all community members to follow good safety practices. Be aware of your surroundings and do not leave your doors unlocked. When entering residence halls, make sure to tap your AUID and show it to the front desk staff. Do not let anyone follow you into your residence halls or office area, and do not admit anyone unless they are your guest.

Any member of the community affected by this incident can get support from our campus resources. Students can contact the 24-hour AU ProtoCall line at 202-885-7979 or the Center for Well-Being Programs at 202-885-3500, and students living in the residence halls can reach the community director on call at their hall’s front desk. Faculty and staff can contact the BHS Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 800-327-2251 or on the MyBHS portal.

We are dedicating the necessary resources to the investigation and to support those community members affected by this matter. Additional updates will be provided based on the investigation.


Phil Morse
Assistant Vice President, University Police Services and Emergency Management