Two Men Arrested Outside Mertz for Harassment

The Chicago Jewish Day School was evacuated for about two hours March 7.

Two men who harassed several Loyola students outside Mertz Hall on Oct. 13 were arrested and now face criminal charges.

Campus Safety officers saw the two men, Cesar Castro and Peter Rivera — both 35 years old and not affiliated with Loyola — harassing students outside the residence hall in front of the Damen Student Center, and took them into custody, according to Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham.

First-year environmental science major Maggie Brady said she and her friend were walking up the stairs of Mertz Hall when they were yelled at by the two men.

Brady said one of the men approached her and her friend and said he was in one of their classes, but they responded that he wasn’t. When the women tried to walk away, that man tried to grab Brady’s friend by the hand, Brady said.

“He told her he needed a woman in his life, and he was like, ‘What’s your name,’” said Brady, 18. “He was being really creepy and touching her arm and being really weird, and eventually, I was like, you know, ‘Let’s go.’”

When the two friends went into Mertz Hall, they talked to the desk attendant. An officer in the lobby heard Brady’s story and went outside to arrest the men, according to Brady.

Brady said the situation made her uncomfortable and she is glad the men were arrested.

“It might have seemed like something small just to go on campus and to talk to people, but it was a big deal and I’m kind of glad that they were [arrested] because now, hopefully, they won’t do it again,” she said. “Even though it might be something minor, it’s still kind of a big deal.”

Another Mertz resident, first-year political science and social advocacy and change double major Chelsea Halsted, said she was not harassed but witnessed the two men being arrested from the window of her third-floor bedroom.

“I did see the men,” said the 18-year-old. “They were both dressed in all black.”

Halsted said she was upset that the incident was not addressed in her residence hall by resident assistants or the resident director. It wasn’t addressed until the next day, when Campus Safety sent out an email informing the whole Loyola community of what had happened.

Halsted also said she is concerned with her safety on campus with all the recent sexual violence cases.
“It’s kind of scary to think that people can just walk onto campus and start harassing people,” she said.

Both men face criminal trespass charges and have been taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department. Prosecutors have also charged Rivera with simple battery and Castro with simple assault. In Illinois, simple battery is defined as “a person intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual or making physical contact of insulting or provoking nature with an individual,” and simple battery is defined as “a physical attack on a person in which the victim does not suffer severe bodily injury,” according to the Chicago Police Department Clearmap, a crime description database.

None of the Loyola students involved were injured, according to Cunningham.

“Campus Safety is committed to keeping the Loyola community safe and will not tolerate people who try to cause harm to our students, faculty or staff,” Cunningham stated in an email to The Phoenix.

This the latest incident of harassment of students on campus. Last month, there were three reported sexual assaults and four reported sexual abuses on and near Lake Shore campus.

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