Around 9:15 a.m. on Oct. 6, police responded to a call from the Public Safety Office that a man had been found trespassing on campus, and had actually crawled into the bed of a female student in a dorm.
Daniel Jokinen, 21, a resident of Castleton who is not a student, was arrested and charged with unlawful trespass of an occupied residence, according to Castleton Police officer Justin Szarejko.
Jokinen allegedly climbed into a female student’s bed in Haskell Hall that morning and had refused to leave, according to police reports.
An article that was published in the Rutland Herald on Oct. 9 was the first most students heard of the incident. Even after Public Safety issued a community notice, most students who were asked were still worried and unclear on had happened.
“What’s messed up about it is that no one knew about it,” said Castleton senior Becca Russell, a resident of Hoff Hall. “When I heard that this guy crawled into bed with that girl I could literally feel my heart drop into my stomach.”
The exact events leading to and during Jokinen’s time on campus is a matter of some confusion among students.
According to Keith Molinari, director of Public Safety, the man was invited into Haskell Hall by students who had met him at an off-campus party. These students were suitemates of the person whose room he later entered.
“They returned for an after-party,” said Molinari. “He gets invited, he is in the suite with all these people, further drinking, high intoxication. His claim is that he was told to sleep in that bed.”
Jokinen is then said to have entered a student’s room in the suite without her knowledge and climbed into bed with her, according to Molinari and the student’s statement to the police.
In that statement, the student said that the door to her room was locked and that she, “woke up to this kid crawling on top of me.”
Acknowledging confusion about the exact meaning of that, Molinari states, “In her statement to us, there is no sexual assault and I believe she maintains that.”
There is also no mention of sexual assault in Officer Szarejko’s police report and Jokinen is currently only charged with felony trespass.
According to the student’s statement, Jokinen refused to leave, growing increasingly angry and yelling profanities at her. She then left the room and let friends into the dorm to help.
After some time, Jokinen was found still attempting to sleep in her bed, having stripped down to his boxers, and was forcibly removed by the students.
According to Molinari, neither the college nor the police were aware of the situation until the man was later spotted standing outside the dorm by a campus safety officer.
When approached, he was said to be seemingly intoxicated, bruised and crying, telling the officer that he was beaten and thrown out of the building and his pants were still inside, Molinari said.
As that discussion was going on, the student came down and told the officer she didn’t want Jokinen entering her room and explained the situation, Molinari said.
Public Safety then called the police, according to Molinari, and soon after discovered that Jokinen had already been given an order against trespass in February of last year involving a case of domestic violence against a student.
Some students say they should have been made aware of the situation sooner.
But Molinari said he felt that the situation had been dealt with and there wasn’t an emergency, saying “It was pretty much a standard every kind of Sunday for me.”
Dennis Proulx, dean of students, said the incident didn’t necessitate use of the alert system.
“In the course of us understanding what was going on, we always knew where he was and who he was. There was never a threat,” he said. “It’s daily operation at that point. If it had been an alert we certainly would have put something out.”
Russell felt that, regardless of immediate danger, students should have been made aware of the incident soon after.
“I’m glad that they’re confident in the safety on campus for the students, but I think it’s still kind of responsibility of the campus to let students know that information regardless,” she said. “I really do understand that the threat is not there, but we should be informed that the threat was there and that they took care of it, because that’s just going to make me feel more confident in their abilities honestly.”