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FVSU: Women can move onto campus due to rape cases


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Fort Valley State University says it's opening its campus housing to female students who live off campus for the rest of the school year, due to a recent string of rapes and break-ins.

That's according to university spokeswoman Pamela Berry Johnson.
She said the housing is free for women who don't feel safe off campus.

The school's graduation is tomorrow and other students are scheduled to leave campus May 11.

Fort Valley State University's Student Government Association created a safety app.

It alerts up to 6 people in the case of an emergency.

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Solving the Fort Valley rapes and break-ins


With a string of break-ins and rapes in Fort Valley, 13WMAZ wanted to learn more about the profile of a rapist and find out the likelihood that the recent rash of break-ins and rapes in Fort Valley were all committed by the same person.

Gary Rothwell is a former special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Rothwell says it is unusual to have multiple rapes, especially in a town Fort Valley's size.

"Serial offenders are profiled often in the news, but their actual occurrence is rather rare. When we see something in a small community like this, it becomes much more evident and easier to catch on that there's a serial offender than perhaps in a larger jurisdiction," he said.

Rothwell says most sexual offenders are young as the Fort Valley rapist is thought to be, but older rapists are not unheard of.

Fort Valley residents react to break-ins, rapes


After days of break-ins, a rape, and an attempted rape, many people in Fort Valley say they're afraid.

A Fort Valley State spokeswoman said students are continuing to receive alerts through email and text message.

Fort Valley Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon says his department has been updating their Facebook page with alerts.

However, after incidents reported on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings, the first posts by his department happened Tuesday afternoon.

When asked if she thought law enforcement was doing enough to notify residents, Tia Ackols said officers could do more.

New rape, attempted rape, break-ins reported in Fort Valley


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Law enforcement in Fort Valley is investigating a new rape case, one attempted rape and five other break-ins, all reported in the past three days.

That comes after a string of reported rapes and break-ins in the city earlier this month.

In the latest case, Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said a Fort Valley State University student said she was raped by an intruder around 1 a.m. in her home on Spencer Street.

Five other people reported break-ins between 3 and 5 a.m. Monday, Deese said. No rapes or attempted rapes were reported in those cases, he said.

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Peach County teen meets President Obama


A Peach County High School student met President Obama as part of an annual 4-H meeting at the White House.

16-year-old Ka'Shawn Burke was one of 8 young people invited by the President and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture earlier this month.

They discussed healthy living, food security, and STEM education.

Like the other participants through 4-H Burke has worked on projects to help his community tackle problems related to childhood poverty.

Burke says he didn't believe the visit was really going to happen.

"He didn't walk into the room, he opened the door for us! He opened the door to the Oval Office for us. And he shook our hand as we were walking through the door," says Burke.

Burke says he talked with the president about the garden they've worked on and how they share food with the community.

Fort Valley State University response to break-ins, rapes


Kenisha Tillmutt is a junior at Fort Valley State University, and says she's noticed a stronger police presence around the school.

"There are police officers patrolling the halls. Which they have been doing that, but even more now," she said.

This after five break-ins and two reported rapes off campus within the last two weeks. Peach County investigators believe the crimes are committed by the same person, and in most cases, he's had a gun.

"We've increased our police presence, we've had off duty officers coming in extra duty, extra patrol," Fort Valley State Police Chief, Kenneth Morgan.

Fort Valley students react to break-ins, rapes


With most of the break-ins and rapes happening within miles of each other, and all within 2 weeks, many Fort Valley State students who live off campus say they are concerned.

Diana Holt is a junior, and says she wasn't that surprised to hear about the break-ins.

She says while she never experienced one, they've happened in the area before.

But she says what is scary is knowing that women have been raped so close to where she lives.

Holt says she believes the intruder watched the victims to know when they were leaving and entering their homes.

She says she's lived in her apartment since January and hasn't had a problem, but says she'll take extra precautions now.

"I'm definitely going to start locking the outside door, too," Holt said, " There's gates and bars on our windows, so we don't have to worry about nobody coming in through the window."