Students Spend Time Behind Bars for Unusual Crimes


In addition to more routine incidents of crime such as thefts and acts of vandalism, the 1997-98 school year saw a number of uncommon campus crimes involving students as victims as well as perpetrators.

On May 18, a Currier House woman awoke to find a stranger lying on top of her. According to a Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) report, the man tried to kiss the woman before she escaped from him.

In March and again in early May undergraduates were assaulted while walking along a marked "safe" path next to Leverett House.

But perhaps the most unusual component of the past year's criminal activity was the increased number of Harvard students who found themselves the subjects of criminal inquiry.

The arrest of Joshua M. Elster '00 on charges of allegedly raping and assaulting a fellow student (please see related story, this page) prompted spirited responses from the community, which called for greater rape awareness.


Other students faced less serious charges including four students arrested for smashing a parking meter, two students arrested for procuring alcohol using false identification, and three students arrested for throwing rocks off the top of a Mass. Ave. building.

Four Students vs. Parking Meter

In the early morning hours of Oct. 11, four Harvard students were stopped by the HUPD at the intersection of Bow and Plympton Streets for smashing a parking meter on the curb, according to the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) blotter.

Because parking meters are under the city's jurisdiction, HUPD turned the case over to the CPD. The students, Gregory E. Curvall '99, Ian S. Rice '98, Ryan P. Korinke '99, Russell T. Hancock '99, were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and malicious destruction, according to the CPD blotter.

An unidentified neighbor reportedly saw the students vandalizing the property and called HUPD, according to Bernard A. Flynn, assistant director for parking for the city of Cambridge.

The four students were arraigned in court the following Tuesday where each was sentenced to 150 hours of community service to be completed within the next three months, said Brian Heffron, spokesperson for the Middlesex County District Attorney's office.

The judge specified that the students had to fulfill their community service hours by tutoring under-privileged children in Cambridge.

The students also had to pay to replace the parking meter, which cost approximately $700, according to Heffron.

Heffron said the charges against the students would likely be dropped before the students graduate provided they "stay out of trouble" until then.

Cops in Shops, Students in Jail

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