Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF senior accused of raping freshman in her dorm room

TAMPA — A University of South Florida freshman awoke Wednesday as a man raped her in her dorm room.

Her attacker, officials said, was someone she knew well: USF senior Samuel Cesaire, 23, an overnight guest of her roommate's.

The crime shocked other students. It also spurred the university to talk to students in every dorm Thursday about acquaintance rape and date rape.

The university's residence halls are safe, USF spokesman Michael Hoad said.

Students must swipe their identification cards to open the doors, and each student's ID opens only the doors to his or her residence hall. Visitors must be escorted by students who live in a dorm. Guests of the opposite sex are not supposed to stay overnight.

But USF administrators said the incident is a reason to talk about forms of rape more common than rape by a stranger.

"These are the kinds of things that you have to have community conversations about," Hoad said. "The more you have a community conversation where people start to look out for each other, the safer we'll all be."

The attack took place about 7 a.m. Wednesday in the Kosove apartments, an on-campus complex housing about 254 freshmen.

Startled, the victim pushed Cesaire off and he stopped the attack, police said. Later, she told a resident assistant, who called USF police about 12 hours after the attack.

Cesaire of 18134 Bahama Bay Drive in Tampa was being held without bail Thursday night on two counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person.

Cesaire is a computer engineering major who started at USF in the fall of 2004. According to state records, his only previous arrest was a 2005 charge of forgery, which was dropped.

Because of the sexual battery charges against him, Cesaire has been suspended and banned from campus, Hoad said.

The victim and her roommate are receiving counseling. The victim is from Tampa but lives in Kosove hall. "She has a lot of friends there," Hoad said.

Thursday morning, three freshmen who live at the hall said they hadn't heard of the attack.

"That's scary," said Renita Singh, 18, of Orlando. She said she had felt safe in Kosove "up until just now."

"Now I'll definitely lock my door and make sure my roommate locks our doors," said Singh, who plans to study computer engineering.

University officials said students should be careful who they invite into their rooms. This week's rape, Hoad said, was "a classic situation in which at least the students involved did not believe this would happen."

USF officials also offer a physical education course each semester teaching students how to defend themselves against rape and have launched a program to teach male students about sexual violence, how it happens and what role alcohol plays.

The rape is the second time in three months that police say a female student has awakened to find a male dorm visitor committing a crime in her room.

In mid October, police said a female student in Beta Hall woke up and saw then-18-year-old Daniel Boliek of Coral Springs in his boxer shorts touching her roommate's face. Boliek is not a USF student but was the guest of a male student in the dorm.

Police said he ran into the hallway, took off his underwear, shoved a resident assistant, punched a police officer, was pepper-sprayed, fondled himself and ran outside, where officers tackled him.

Boliek faces a variety of charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Such incidents highlight the need for students to recognize they are making adult decisions when they have guests.

"We consider the dorms safe," Hoad said. "In this case, they let him in the door, and behind closed doors it's very hard for us to check at that level."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Richard Danielson can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403.

USF senior accused of raping freshman in her dorm room 01/14/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 12:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'

    Celebrities

    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day

    K12

    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event

    Politics

    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  5. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking

    Transportation

    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)