Police investigate rape claim at Newton school
NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- Police are investigating after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted on the campus of the Andover-Newton Theological School.
For 190 years, the school that bills itself as America’s oldest seminary says its campus has been violence free. That record has been shattered by one student's report that she was sexually attacked by a stranger.
“This is a community that is incredibly safe and quiet. An enclave of people who are preparing for a life of service. So, when something like this happens, it’s a shock to our system,” said Rev. Nick Carter, seminary president.
The president of the Andover-Newton Theological School says administrators contacted police after a female student came forward saying she was attacked in a campus lecture hall.
The student reportedly told a faculty member that a masked man found her in a bathroom of the building on a Sunday afternoon. She says he then threw her to the ground and sexually assaulted her before taking off.
People who live near the seminary describe the school as a peaceful place; a home for 300 students -- the perfect neighbor.
“If you walk up the hill you feel like you're in the countryside. It's a seminary; a very philosophical spiritual environment,” said Jim Kasper, who lives near the campus.
Administrators say 200 visitors came to the campus for a theology conference back on Oct. 14, the same day the alleged victim says she was attacked.
Police have yet to make any arrests.
“This is a safe campus so it makes it highly unlikely this would be another student but responsible investigations would have to include everyone,” said Rev. Carter.
School officials say they’re looking into surveillance security at each of its buildings.
Police say they have spoken with school administrators about the alleged attack, but say the woman has yet to speak to them.