A homeless man with a long list of criminal offenses, many of them near Ohio State’s campus, was arrested after a bike patrol reportedly caught him raping a woman inside an empty off-campus garage early Saturday morning, according to a Columbus Division of Police press release.
Some students living in the off-campus neighborhood where the crime took place said they feel safe in the area, while others don’t.
That crime happened just before 2 a.m. Saturday morning when Columbus Police patrol officers were making their rounds in the East 12th Avenue area. During the patrol, the officers shined their flashlights on what they thought was a vacant garage. Once their beams lit up the space, though, they realized two people were inside.
The release stated the officers saw a man on top of a woman on the garage floor, “engaging in what appeared to be sexual intercourse,” so they intervened.
After talking to the 21-year-old woman whom they had seen on the ground, the officers learned the 36-year-old man, identified as Randy Graham, Jr., had forced her into the garage before he began sexually assaulting her.
Graham was arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping that night.
The female victim was treated at a local hospital Saturday. She is not an OSU student, CPD public information officer Denise Alex-Bouzounis said.
Graham’s address is listed as homeless and he has been known to frequent the area, she said.
Despite the assault, some students said they still feel safe both on- and off-campus.
Genevieve Danes, a third-year in international studies, said she’s lived at her off-campus home for two years and has always felt safe.
“I never had a problem being alone,” Danes said.
Although she feels relatively safe in the area, Danes said for safety purposes, it’s best to avoid certain areas, like dark alleys.
But Lindsay Lingafelter, a fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said she doesn’t feel safe at night or even during the day.
“I would never walk alone anywhere, even at daytime,” she said. “But I see dudes doing (it).”
One such man is Yiran Wang, a fourth-year in accounting, who said walking alone is safer for men than it is for women. He said he’ll walk with women to make sure they get home safely.
“Women should just not walk alone,” Wang said.
Saturday wasn’t Graham’s first run-in with local law enforcement, either. Columbus police have been dealing with Graham since at least the turn of the century, a search on the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk of Courts showed.
Graham’s criminal offenses appear to have started in 2000, according to the website. In those years, he’s been found guilty of offenses including assault, menacing, disorderly conduct and domestic violence on multiple occasions, the records show. He was also found guilty of aggravated menacing and aggressive panhandling.
Many of those offenses took place in areas surrounding OSU’s campus, although some occurred in other parts of Columbus, according to the FCMC Clerk of Courts search. After the Saturday assault, Graham is set to make his first court appearance Monday at 9 a.m.
Yann Schreiber contributed to this article.
Clarification: Sept. 8, 2014
An earlier version of this story stated Graham’s criminal offenses appeared to begin in 1999, when in fact, they began in 2000. His offenses in 1999 were civil cases.