UNF police: Man who groped student banned from campus

Student says she was answering Craigslist ad for babysitter for single dad

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man who groped a University of North Florida student who was answering his Craigslist ad asking for a babysitter has been identified and banned from campus, the University Police Department said.

The student, who lives on campus, told UPD officers that the ad had requested a babysitter for a single dad, and that after communicating with the man online, he agreed to meet her Nov. 9 in front of UNF's Thomas G. Carpenter Library.

She met him in Lot 2 on campus just before 10 p.m. and got into his car so they could talk privately, police said.

The student asked what the pay would be for the babysitting job, and the man answered $1,700 a week, according to police.

As they talked further, the man said that he also needed a “friend,” but the student told him that she wasn’t comfortable with that, and he touched her in the crotch area, police said.

Later in the conversation, the man reached over and touched her breast on top of her clothing, police said.

She then got out of the man's car and called campus police, who issued a timely warning to all students via the campus alert system.

She provided a description of the man, who was later identified and found by UPD investigators. He has been banned from all UNF properties, and criminal charges are pending, polie said.

UPD urges the campus community to be mindful and to use caution when responding to Craigslist ads or other internet advertisements and to be cautious about getting into vehicles with strangers. 

"It's very concerning," said Bailey Turner, UNF senior. "But you just have to be conscientious when you're looking for things online and situations like that and paying attention to any red flags."

Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, also warned of the risks associated with finding jobs on websites.

"For something like that, it's best to use a temporary employment service. That way the people are vetted. They do background checks on them and they have their history. So when you go to them, the company knows exactly who you are and who you're dealing with," Smith said.

The incident put students across campus on high alert.

"It's so sad to know there are people out there with bad intentions like that," Turner said. "I'm very guilty of looking at my phone and not paying attention when walking to my car. So I'm definitely going to be more careful."