VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police arrested a man Friday in connection to alleged groping incidents at Tidewater Community College’s Virginia Beach campus.
A spokesperson for the college said four different women reported separate fondling incidents over a few days at the end of April and beginning of May. All of the women identified the same student as having touched them inappropriately. Two of the women filed reports with Virginia Beach police.
Police confirmed the suspect is 18-year-old Tyson Washington. He is charged with two counts of assault and battery.
Court documents obtained by 10 On Your Side state one of the victims was fondled following an exam. She had reportedly gone to sit in the hallway when Washington approached. According to the documents, Washington struck up a conversation with her. He then went to give her a hug, and allegedly used his hand to “cup and caress” her breast.
The student reported the incident to a teacher and to campus security, the documents state. Weeks later, she reportedly recognized the man who had fondled her on campus, and took note of his vehicle and license plate.
10 On Your Side went to his listed address in Virginia Beach on Thursday, but no one came to the door. A neighbor said the allegations are surprising.
“We knew Tyson when he was younger, he would hang out with my older son,” Carlos Fernendez said. “He seemed like a pretty good kid.”
A TCC spokesperson could not confirm if he had been expelled from TCC, but did state he is no longer enrolled there.
Students on campus Thursday told 10 On Your Side that they hadn’t been made aware of the allegations and are stunned.
“That’s awful, that’s super uncomfortable,” Rachel Holliday said. “You’d think people would respect people on campus more, especially a young guy like that.”
Student Heather Miles said the reports make her feel “nervous and freaked out.”
In a statement sent to 10 On Your Side, a college spokesperson said:
TCC is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for all of our students,” the college’s statement reads in part. “Every report of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment is investigated. In addition, a student may report incidents not only to TCC Security but to any staff or faculty member. Under the Violence Against Women act, any employee who becomes aware of an incident of harassment or misconduct is obligated to report it to the college’s Title IX officer.”
Students told 10 On Your Side they may be more cautious while walking to class now, but they have never felt threatened.
“I’ve never felt unsafe on this campus,” Holliday said.
“Everywhere, each parking lot, there’s a security guard, so I feel safe all the time,” Miles said. “I haven’t had anything happen to me, luckily, I’ve been blessed.”