UP dispels sexual battery rumors

After University Police (UP) responded to a domestic battery on campus Monday night, rumors began to circulate that the University was on lockdown for a sexual battery.

UP spokesman Lt. Chris Daniel said there is no truth to the rumors.

“We understand that many are under the false impression that a sexual battery occurred and that, as a result, the University has gone into a lock-down status or has otherwise limited its services,” he said in a release. “Such information is incorrect. The University remains fully functional and engaged in routine business activities. While a criminal incident not related to a sexual battery did occur, and for which an arrest was made, the suspect never posed a risk to members of the USF community.”

According to the release, around 11 p.m. Monday officers “responded to a call of a woman screaming in a vehicle parked just west of the Andros Complex. Responding officers observed a woman in distress and approached the vehicle.”

When officers arrived on scene, Rosario Louis-Maurice Saintgeraud, who is not affiliated with USF, fled on foot.

In an interview with The Oracle, Daniel said a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit was called to find Saintgeraud. The Tampa Police Department overheard the call on their police scanner and sent a helicopter to assist in the search.

Saintgeraud was found near the USF Federal Credit Union “hiding in dense vegetation” and was charged with kidnapping, domestic battery by strangulation and opposing an officer without violence.

According to the release, the woman, who also is not affiliated with USF, was in a relationship with Saintgeraud and told officers “she agreed to meet Saintgeraud in a USF parking lot to talk after they attended a USF (University) Lecture Series event featuring guest speaker (and) rap artist Common. During the discussion, Saintgeraud became physically aggressive, attempting to choke her while prohibiting her from exiting the vehicle.”

Tampa Fire Rescue treated the woman for minor injuries at the scene.

Daniel said UP is uncertain of where rumors of a sexual battery originated.

“One of our members heard that some of the rumors were going on by way of social media, but I don’t know how those rumors were starting,” he said. “It even got to the point where we got a call from the Sheriff’s Office. It perplexed us.”

UP does not initiate campus lockdowns, Daniel said, but will use evacuation procedures if necessary.

– Reporting by Diedra Rodriguez