ISLA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — At UC Santa Barbara, life on and around campus has been tense after students like Hayleigh Pervorse received a text message warning them about a sexual assault.
“Everyone was a little distraught and shocked that it happened,” said Pervorse.
What makes this case so unsettling for residents is the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t know exactly where a 19-year-old UCSB student was severely beaten and gang-raped sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday.
It’s unclear if it was on campus or in neighboring Isla Vista.
“I was scared because I was out that night. I’d been walking by myself an hour before I got that text. I was really freaked out,” Pervorse said.
Police haven’t been able to get good descriptions on the three men allegedly involved, even after the victim was able to walk home to tell her roommate, who then called police.
“The victim has been transported to the hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and she also underwent a full examination,” said Kelly Hoover of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The victim was released from the hospital last night and is recovering at home with her family.
This comes one night after another young woman was attacked in Isla Vista as she tried to get into her car. The university sent out a text about that too.
“It was kind of crazy because, two nights in a row?” said student Madeline van Demortel.
This weekend’s two cases follow a separate alleged sexual assault in Isla Vista back in January in which two men and a juvenile were arrested for attacking an 18-year-old-woman.
Pervorse says the recent news has made her more defensive.
“I am definitely not going to walk around by myself,” she said. “I know there’s the [Campus Safety Officers] and I’m definitely going to call them if I need to go anywhere at night.”
The university on Monday afternoon released a statement regarding the attack:
“The University is deeply concerned about the attack this weekend on a student of ours. The University of California Police Department (UCPD) is working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the crime. In response to the report, we have increased UCPD patrols on campus and in the community to provide an added measure of security. The safety and welfare of our students and our campus community is our
highest priority. The University has robust education and prevention programs to raise community awareness about sexual assault. The University¹s CSO Escort Program also provides courtesy escorts for students and community members traveling on campus and in Isla Vista during nighttime hours. We will work with our students, faculty and staff through training, prevention and support programs to continue to raise awareness about sexual assault.”
At this point, detectives say three men took part in Sunday’s gang rape, but they don’t have clear descriptions of them.
Since the Sheriff’s Department has few clues in this case, investigators are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information can report it anonymously to UCSB Police or the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.