Victim sues apartment complex over 2013 assaults

A former USF student filed a lawsuit last week, claiming the off-campus housing complex Cambridge Woods failed to provide security that could have prevented the 2013 rampage that left four women sexually battered.

The woman, a victim who is not named, is filing the lawsuit after being sexually assaulted at the time, when she was an 18-year-old freshman at USF. 

The lawsuit is against UDR Inc., owners of the Cambridge Woods Apartment complex less than a mile north of the Tampa campus, where many USF students live. 

The Baird Law Group took the case and, according to the Tampa Tribune, claims a number of security measures could have been taken to make residents safer, such as hiring security guards, building a gate and installing security cameras. 

Cory Baird, the lawyer who represents the complainant, further told the Tampa Tribune that his office reviewed crime reports of the past five years and found numerous incidents of battery, rape, assault and robbery in the quarter-mile radius of the apartment complex.

Therefore, the lawsuit, according to the Tampa Tribune, said that the large amount of crime should have compelled the owners of the complex to take actions to protect its  residents. 

Three semesters have passed since the Charles Bates’ rampage that took place over two days in September 2013 and left the entire main campus on alert. 

The rampage ended when police killed Bates in a shootout that followed a high-speed chase, but only after a series of home invasions. 

On Sept. 5, Bates entered an apartment at Cambridge Woods apartments with eight students inside. He tied four men with duct tape and sexually battered four women. 

Bates then entered Eagles Point apartments, where he forced a woman into her apartment but left without harming her.  

Bates ran across the street to The Oaks, where he interrupted a birthday party. He held more than 20 people at gunpoint and fired a round into the floor before fleeing. 

Outside the apartment, Bates fired missed shots at a man before escaping the area. Police discovered Bates in the car he stole from a victim, which led to the fatal chase. An autopsy indicated Bates was under the influence of a powerful synthetic hallucinogen.  

Baird, according to the Tampa Tribune, said his client had to drop out of the university and still has difficulty coping with what happened. 

The Oracle could reach neither UDR Inc. nor Baird for comment by time of print.