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'I don't feel safe': Victim in Pacific Lutheran U. groping incident speaks out in court

Dylan Robinson appeared in court Monday, May 22, where a judge set Robinson’s bail at $500,000. His jury trial is set to begin July 12.

TACOMA, Wash. — Dylan Robinson, 31, faces two counts of assault, two counts of burglary, and one count of indecent liberties for allegedly breaking into students' dorm rooms at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and groping them while they slept.

He appeared in court Monday, May 22, where a judge set Robinson’s bail at $500,000. His jury trial is set to begin July 12.

One of the victims also appeared during the proceedings to tell the judge that what happened that morning will be felt across the campus.

“I don’t feel safe at PLU,” she said. “I’ve spoken to other female students who don’t feel safe at PLU. My room overlooks a main door of the building, and I can’t really talk about how scared they are, how terrified they are that this could happen to them. It happened to me, it happened to another person, and it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

Pierce County deputies were called to PLU’s South Hall around 7:10 a.m. May 14. When deputies arrived, they found four students in the security office, all visibly upset, with three of the students saying someone broke into their dorm room a few hours earlier, according to court documents.

Court documents say one of the victims, identified as C.C., said at approximately 4:15 a.m. she awoke to someone standing in her room watching her and her roommate, identified as S.W., sleeping in bed. As C.C. got up and checked her closet, she was allegedly grabbed by Robinson, who grabbed C.C.'s arm and chest. C.C. started hitting Robinson and yelling at him to get out. 

S.W. also yelled at Robinson to get out of the apartment. A third victim, identified as Z.R., was in a separate room in the apartment and was woken up by her roommates yelling that someone was inside.

Court documents say maintenance learned that the power was cut off to the dorm room.

Sgt. Darren Moss of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the students were shaken up and left the building to calm down, but soon saw it wasn’t over.

“As they’re outside their dorm, they hear screaming from one of the windows inside the same dorm building,” he said. “At that point, they see the guy who they believe was in their dorm room running outside of the same dorm with his pants down below his waist.”

Court documents say the fourth student, identified as E.T., told the deputies that she had been awakened around 5:30 a.m. by someone touching her crotch and breasts. E.T. got up and yelled at the suspect to get out of her apartment.

Court documents went on to say that Z.R. followed Robinson once he left the dorms, who began hitting her with a shoe. Z.R. pepper sprayed Robinson and backed away, and she was eventually able to take Robinson’s picture.

Pierce County Deputies released that picture to the public, and soon received a tip that led to Robinson being identified.

Moss says that photo was key in Robinson’s arrest.

“Without the public’s help, it would’ve taken us a lot longer to figure out who this person was,” Moss said. “Having the public’s help in putting a photo out right away, a really good photo versus a grainy surveillance camera photo, I think that really helped us get this person in custody right away.”

Moss also said when it comes to sexual assault cases, the victim is usually known by the perpetrator, which makes Robinson’s alleged crime particularly threatening.

 “When we have one that’s a stranger, a total stranger, and then on top of that, you throw in a burglary, where he’s breaking into a home or a dorm room full of young women, that’s extremely dangerous, and it’s all hands on deck when we hear something like that,” he said.

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