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Authorities: Sexual assault reported at CCRI campus in Warwick

Campus police at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, along with Warwick police, are investigating a sexual assault on campus that was reported by a student. (WJAR)

Campus police at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, along with Warwick police, are investigating a sexual assault on campus that was reported by a student.

"Shortly before 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, a female student reported being sexually assaulted in the area of Row M of the parking lot at the Knight Campus," according to a statement from the college.

Authorities described the alleged assailant as a white man who identified himself as “Tom.”

Police said he was driving a white, four-door Chevrolet car.

The man, said authorities, is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and has dirty blonde hair. He has a medium, slightly muscular build, as well as a green shamrock tattoo on his left elbow.

Students told NBC 10 News that they received alert messages from the school after the incident.

“When I got the message, it was really alarming,” Michelle Reardon, a CCRI student, said. “It was very surprising that it could happen in broad daylight. And I really felt for the girl it happened to.”

Others shared similar sentiments.

"Honestly, it's just really sad, mostly because people should feel safe on their campuses," Rachel Gordon said. "So many young people go to this campus and it's just a shame that they have to feel like they can't be safe where they're learning."

Noah Kaye, another student, agreed.

“You try to feel safe and when stuff like this happens. It really changes your perspective,” Kaye said.

Police patrolled in the following hours, with students taking note.

“It's dangerous. Now I'm a little worried,” Deanna Eberle said. “We're definitely making sure that we use the buddy system now.”

Jake Burke, who teaches self-defense at his martial arts studio in Cranston, said it’s best to evaluate the situation.

“Always keeping your eyes open, always being aware,” Burke said. “A lot of people nowadays are walking around looking down, crossing the street, looking at their iPhones.”

The Warwick Police Department is asking anyone with information about the alleged assault to call 401-468-4200.

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