VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Libraries are supposed to be safe, quiet places to read and research, but a Virginia Beach woman says that aura was violated at a local college library when a man flashed her.
The victim — who did not want to be identified — told WAVY.com she was at Tidewater Community College’s new Virginia Beach Joint Use Library working at a desk on the second floor when a man approached and sat down next to her.
“I started to hear some strange noises. I started to get a creepy feeling. I look over, and these strange noises are coming from him masturbating int he library right next to me,” she said. “He made no real attempt to hid himself. He was just sitting there with his legs out. His legs wide open, just sitting there.
The woman said the suspect was bold, acting like what he was doing in a public library was normal: “He was still talking to me, and it finally hit me as I had this horrified and mortified look on my face, as I tried to calmly walk away.”
The victim says she told another woman she thought she was being sexually harassed, and asked her to watch her things while she went for help. But when she returned with a security guard, the suspect had left the building through a back staircase, then out the front door.
Virginia Beach Police arrived and she filed a police report, but claims the brand new library doesn’t have the proper security to catch the suspect: “The police officer asked the library security guard if they had a security camera, and the security guard said no.”
WAVY.com reached out to TCC about the incident and received a statement from Public Information Officer Marian Anderfuren.
“TCC’s buildings are open to the public, and libraries generally do not have cameras at their front desks. However, our students’ safety is the college’s top priority,” Anderfuren wrote. “The Joint-Use Library has a security officer on site during its operating hours, supplemented by patrolling security. This regrettable incident appears to have been isolated.”
The victim said the fact that the new library on campus is open to the general public is even more of a reason to have security camera’s at the point of entry.
“I felt scared, even in the broad daylight,” she said.
She came to 10 On Your Side to bring attention to the incident and the fact that the suspect was able to simply slip away.
“I hope this can generate change on campus,” she said. “They can install one camera at the entrance to capture you, especially in a public facility, especially one that closes after dark.”