Content warning: this article contains description of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Please note that the linked Canberra Times article contains more graphic descriptions.
By Samuel Wright
A 38-year-old Canberra man faced court yesterday over the alleged indecent assault of an ANU student at a residential hall at approximately 6:30am on Saturday 28 September. The offender was arrested the next day.
According to the Canberra Times, the student allegedly woke to find the offender, Paul Kelly, touching her indecently while wearing a balaclava and carrying a large backpack. When the student challenged Kelly, it is alleged that he responded by saying “You don’t know me”, before attempting to steal the student’s laptop. After the student grabbed the laptop from the alleged offender and began yelling, neighbouring students became aware of the commotion. Kelly allegedly stated that he would “come back and get” the student, and then left.
According to the Canberra Times, the student subsequently realised that her wallet and phone had been stolen. Kelly was allegedly caught on CCTV footage later that day trying to use the student’s credit card to purchase food at a Coles in Curtin, but was unable to do so, due to a lock placed on the card.
In a statement on the ACT Policing Website, Police Media reported that the offender was “located in Curtin, with what police will allege was a stolen motor vehicle” on Sunday. The offender was also allegedly found with what police believed to be methylamphetamine and a number of stolen items.
In a statement, a University spokesperson said that ANU and the college involved are “working closely with police on this matter” and that “counselling and other support services have been provided to the affected individual”. When asked if there would be an increase in security measures at the University, the spokesperson said that ANU “maintains its comprehensive security” and that any staff or students who are feeling distressed “can access the University’s support services through the normal mechanisms”.
It is not currently clear which hall of residence the incident, which the University has described as “opportunistic”, occurred at.
The alleged offender is due back in the ACT Magistrates Court on 14 October and is being charged with a range of offences, including “act of indecency without consent, burglary and theft”.
If you have been sexually assaulted, or affected by a sexual assault, support is available:
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: (02) 6247 2525 (7am-11pm)
1800 RESPECT (24/7)
ANU Counselling: 02 6125 2442 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)
ANU Crisis Support Line: 5pm till 9am weekdays and 24/7 weekends and public holidays
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