Ruth Brown

Ruth BrownAmy Poppinga

After three violent sexual assaults occurred in Brookings last spring, two on campus and one off, students breathe a sigh of relief after an arrest was made but remain cautious.

Lindsey Reid, a senior math major said after hearing of the assaults she now thinks twice before walking alone at night.

“I still feel safe at SDSU but before the assaults I would walk home at midnight by myself and now I would probably rather have someone with me,” Reid said.

Chris L. Jones, a 21-year-old Brookings man, was arrested on April 20 facing charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping in connection with three reported sexual assaults in the Brookings community in late March and April.

Brookings Police Chief Jeff Miller called Jones a “serial rapist” at the time of his arrest and said that he had become more emboldened with every assault he committed.

Miller said, Jones, who is not a student, confessed to the two on-campus assaults and the off-campus kidnapping, rape and robbery that occurred April 20.

“I feel safe on campus because even when it was going on (before the arrest) a lot of the guys on campus were really supportive with walking girls,” said Alicia Davidson, a sophomore general studies major. “The rape whistles that the dorms gave out were also kind of reassuring.”

The two campus assaults of a sexual nature occurred on March 29 and April 7, both shortly after midnight. The first incident happened near the Hilton M. Briggs Library, while the second was in a parking lot near Young and Caldwell residence halls.

“I was relieved when they arrested (Jones) because it seemed like it wasn’t stopping,” Reid said.

Some campus women believe that although independence is important, “common sense” is as well.

“I don’t usually walk alone at night anyway even before it happened,” said Elizabeth Bosworth a junior biology and chemistry major. “It’s generally not a good idea to walk in the dark on a college campus anyway.”

Jones is being charged with one felony count of kidnapping, five counts of second-degree rape, two counts of first-degree robbery, and one count of attempted robbery.

He faces a possible life sentence on the kidnapping charge, and maximum penalties that include multiple years in prison and more than $100,000 in fines.

Even after the serious incidents occurred, some campus women say SDSU still feels safe.

“I feel safe, I wasn’t even that concerned for my safety when it was going on,” said Casi Huizenga, a junior mechanical engineering major. “I guess I just always kind of feel pretty calm about it and don’t freak out about that kind of stuff.”

Jones’ next court appearance will be Oct. 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the Brookings County Court House.