Man accused of groping UNF student charged with battery

UNF police arrest 45-year-old Jacksonville resident in November

Booking photo of Eyad Tawil
Booking photo of Eyad Tawil

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 45-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of groping a University of North Florida student who responded to his Craigslist ad asking for a babysitter in November, according to campus police.

Eyad Tawil, of Jacksonville, was charged with battery. He posted $7,500 bond and was released within hours of his arrest.

The student, who lives on campus, told University Police Department 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 was banned from all UNF properties last year and criminally charged on Wednesday.

UPD continues to urge 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."

"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."