BY RYAN HATHAWAY // NOV. 1, 2015 //
A Curry freshman was arraigned in court on Monday, Oct. 26, after an incident in which he allegedly accosted another Curry student in Scholars Hall.
This is the second reported assault in the 2015-16 school year.
James Murphy, of Walpole, Mass., was arraigned on charges of accosting or annoying a person of the opposite sex, possession of a class B drug, Adderall, and three counts of indecent assault and battery of a person 14 or older. Murphy is free after posting $10,000 bail; he is due back in court Dec. 18.
The incident took place in the early-morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 24, in the front lobby of Scholars Hall, according to the Milton police report. Murphy was allegedly harassing, groping and attempting to kiss the victim, who was working front-desk security at the time, for approximately 45 minutes. The report also stated that Murphy told police he had previously consumed approximately 16 oz. of vodka, and that he didn’t remember much of what happened but did recall the victim telling him to “just go away.”
The only witness was the dorm’s resident advisor, Emma Sullivan.
Sullivan clarified that she did not see the incident, but was able to hear it from where she was working around the corner. She did, however, go out to check in on the victim twice. On the first occasion, Sullivan said she asked the student if she was OK and the student said yes.
Once Murphy finally left the lobby altogether, the female student went to Sullivan’s office and then contacted Curry Public Safety. (Sullivan is the editor of CurrierTimes.net, but played no role in the assigning, writing or editing of this story.)
Dean of Students Maryellen Kiley emailed the student body on Monday to report the incident. In an interview Friday afternoon, Kiley and Associate Dean Rachel King stated that the college’s disciplinary process was ongoing and a decision on whether to suspend, or expel, Murphy had not yet been reached.
Kiley did say that Curry goes to great lengths to train its Public Safety officers and resident advisors to handle incidents of misconduct.
“We do a great deal of training with our RA’s,” she said. “RA’s have a lot of training regarding when to call their community directors or Public Safety.”
Kiley added that Public Safety officers are also provided with comprehensive training.
“Public Safety goes through a number of different trainings,” she said. “Most of them are trained SSPO.” SSPO stands for Special State Police Officer, and Kiley clarified that all but two Curry officers are not yet certified with the SSPO designation.
Kiley also said that student athletes receive additional training beyond what is offered to the entire student body regarding alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct. Murphy is a member of the Curry football team.
Murphy told police that he ignored his team’s 11 p.m. curfew because he was a freshman and “didn’t play much.” He also said that he had been drinking with friends from the football team in the North Campus Residence Hall that night, and that another member of the football team had supplied him with alcohol.
Curry Director of Communication Fran Jackson said the college reviews every incident to determine whether policies or procedures need to be revised, including the possible addition of a second student working the late-night security shift.
“Matters of safety are a fundamental priority of the College,” she said. “We are overviewing procedures with the goal of safeguarding faculty, students, and staff.”
In interviews with five different Curry female students, all five agreed that they felt safe at the college. Three said they learned of the incident via Kiley’s email. One heard it from her family, who read about it in a local newspaper, and the other didn’t know about it at all.
Junior health major Abby Pieger, an RA, said she has never felt unsafe at Curry.
“We have the Blue Light System (and emergency alert system in select locations throughout campus), which I think is really effective,” she said. “And Public Safety tries to make their presence known around campus.” Pieger did say she thought the campus could be better lit.
Cassie Breen, a freshman nursing major who works as an attendant at the library, said she never walks alone at night. “Maybe they could add a few more Blue Lights in places where people go, she said. “I sometimes feel like they’re randomly placed.”
Sophomore nursing majors Amelia McCaffery and Kerry Cullinan said they appreciated that the college informed students about the alleged incident, and that Public Safety is always quick to respond to whatever issues arise on campus.
Said McCaffrey, “I think they handled it in a good way.”