UMass student arrested after alleged rape in on-campus residence hall
A University of Massachusetts student has been arrested and charged with raping a woman in an on-campus residence hall.
Weilang Wang, an 18-year-old computer science major, is being held on $7,500 cash bail at the Hampshire County Jail in Northampton. He was arraigned on Wednesday in Eastern Hampshire Superior Court on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.
The alleged rape was reported to the UMass Police Department by the alleged victim at 11:14 p.m. on Tuesday. According to Deputy Police Chief Patrick Archbald, Wang is accused of raping the woman after she fell asleep while visiting him. Wang is a resident of North Apartment B.
The victim reported the crime to the police shortly after it happened, according to UMass spokesman Daniel Fitzgibbons, who added that this allowed for police to make a quick arrest.
The victim received medical attention immediately, according to Archbald. He declined to comment on if the victim was a UMass student, saying that he wished to protect her privacy.
Wang, who is a Chinese national, will have to relinquish his passport to the probation department if he posts bail, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, which also reported that a harassment order prevents Wang from contacting the victim and states that he must remain at least 10 yards away from her at all times.
As of press time, Fitzgibbons did not know if Wang was still enrolled at the University.
The incident comes after reports that four Pittsfield men allegedly raped a UMass student in her room in Pierpont Hall in October. The men have each been charged with three counts of aggravated rape and one of them faces an additional charge of rape.
The men – who were said to be known to the victim – were signed into the building by someone who was not known to them and waited in the victim’s room until she returned, according to the criminal report.
Initially OK with socializing with the men, the victim, a female friend and the four men drank and smoked marijuana together, according to the criminal report. After the friend left, the men allegedly attacked the victim.
University officials said circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s alleged incident differ substantially from the October case, adding that the victim was signed into the room by Wang and that no alcohol was involved.
“This is a very different case than earlier this year,” Fitzgibbons said. He added that because the student was signed into the dorm, there is little the University could have done to improve security in this case.
After the reported rape in October, officials announced that the University would be conducting an external review of security in the residential areas. The process of hiring a company to complete the review is taking longer than expected, but the University expects to make an announcement soon, according to Fitzgibbons.
He said once a company is chosen, additional information on what the study will look like will be released. Archbald said the study will likely look “at all crimes” that occur in residence halls.
In 2011, five rapes were reported on campus, four of which allegedly occurred in residence halls, according to the Annual Security Report for 2011. In 2010, all three reported rapes allegedly occurred in residence halls. The Gazette reported that a September report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and Security said that rapes are frequently not reported and that 5 to 22 percent of victims report the crime, according to the “Analysis of College Campus Rape and Sexual Assault Reports, 2000-2011.”
Katie Landeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.