Janitor Charged in Second Assault

Harvard custodian accused of last week's groping on Mt. Auburn Street

A Harvard custodian arrested last week for allegedly groping a graduate student on Jan. 20 has been charged with indecent assault in a similar incident that occurred one week earlier, according to the Cambridge Police Department (CPD).

In the Jan. 20 incident, police used footage from surveillance cameras and the victim’s positive identification to arrest Geremias Cruz Ramos, 27, of Revere, Mass., in the Holyoke Center at around 10 p.m. After the arrest, officials determined that Ramos was an employee of Sodexho, a food and facilities management company contracted by Harvard to perform custodial services in the Holyoke Center, among other locations.

That indecent assault, the sixth in four months in the Harvard Square area, remained the only case in which a suspect had been identified until Friday.

Following Ramos’s initial arrest, CPD brought in victims of recent assaults attempt to police headquarters to see if they could identify the custodian as their assailant.

According to CPD Commissioner Ronnie Watson, the undergraduate victim of a Jan. 13 incident positively identified Ramos from a line-up of pictures. That incident occurred on Mt. Auburn Street near Claverly Hall, only one block from the site of the Jan. 20 assault.

As a result of the identification, a second complaint has been filed against Ramos, who is now charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery.

Watson said it is unlikely that Ramos is connected to the other four recent incidents because the suspect descriptions in those cases do not match Ramos’s profile.

“I would love to say that one person is responsible for all the incidents, but I can’t,” Watson said.

But he added that Ramos may have been involved in other incidents in the area.

“We think he is responsible for other assaults which may have gone unreported,” Watson said.

Harvard and Cambridge police continue to investigate the four earlier assaults.

On Jan. 10, a female undergraduate was “groped in the buttocks area” by a man on a bicycle around 9 p.m. in Harvard Yard, according to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).

Around 7 p.m. on Dec. 11, a graduate student was walking on Mt. Auburn Street toward Dunster Street when a man coming from the opposite direction allegedly attempted to grab her crotch.

On Dec. 2, an undergraduate was cutting through the parking lot of St. Paul’s Church on her way to Dunster House when an unidentified man attempted to rape her, according to HUPD.

And police said that on Oct. 22, a Harvard student was attacked in Cambridge Common at approximately 8:30 p.m. when a male grabbed her wrist and waist, spun her around, grabbed her breast and then attempted to remove her coat. The victim struck the face of the suspect, who returned the blow and fled the area.

Harvard and Cambridge police said they have responded by increasing the number of both uniformed and plainclothes officers in the area.

At a dangerousness hearing in Middlesex District Court tomorrow, a judge will decide whether to set bail for Ramos.

—Staff writer Hana R. Alberts can be reached at alberts@fas.harvard.edu.