University of Wisconsin-Madison officials sent out a crime warning after a shocking attempted abduction of a female student on campus early Oct. 2 and followed it up with a web chat with parents, campus police said.
“It was unusually violent,” UW-Madison Police spokesman Marc Lovicott said of the attack in which the student was hit with a hatchet after being grabbed while walking home from College Library at about 1 a.m. “These types of incidents do not typically happen on our campus."
Coleman K. Chung, 30, of Monona, is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court on charges of attempted kidnapping, armed robbery and other offenses, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Chung was on probation for a federal child pornography conviction when he was arrested on Oct. 10 after being identified from UW-Madison surveillance video by his federal probation officer, according to a criminal complaint.
A woman told police earlier this month that Chung struck her with a hatchet, bound her with duct tape and tried to throw her into the trunk of a car before she managed to escape, the complaint said. Police also found what they believe to be the victim’s hair, which the woman said Chung cut during the attack, in a plastic bag in Chung’s bedroom, the complaint states.
Chung was also charged with attempted robbery and misdemeanor battery for a Sept. 29 attack on another woman in downtown Madison.
“We heard concerns from parents and students following (the Oct. 2) incident, the off-campus gun incident near State Street, and the off-campus armed robbery near Union South a week later — so we decided to open up a forum to address questions that anyone might have,” Lovicott said of a web chat.
“It’s not the first time we've done this — we did a similar web chat two years ago,” Lovicott said.
The web chat drew a number of questions about alcohol use at UW-Madison, the incidence of sexual assault, and safety more generally.
For example, Carrie P. asked: “How safe is it to walk on campus in the dark, and if that depends on the time, at what hour would you say it becomes unsafe to do so?”
Lovicott responded: “If a person must walk at night, we encourage them to use the buddy system and always walk with someone. There's really no ‘magic hour’ at dark when it becomes safe. We encourage our students to utilize SAFEwalk whenever possible — it's a great free resource for students. Uber, buses, and other public transportation is great too.”
Students were reminded in an Oct. 2 Crime Warning to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially at night. Also included were the following tips.
• All students should exercise caution when traveling across campus after dark. Use SAFEwalk — a FREE service at UW-Madison that provides safe escorts to students on campus. Call or text at 608-262-5000 to request a walk. SAFEwalk has increased staffing levels in light of this incident to accommodate more walks.
• Avoid wearing earbuds — especially when walking at night. If you must, only use one earbud so you can stay aware of your surroundings.
• If you’re a bystander and see someone behaving in a way that seems suspicious, step in and do something about it. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe confronting them, call 911.
• If you sense that something is wrong and a situation may turn unsafe, step in and do something.
• Use and encourage others to have a companion or a safe means of getting home — like a trusted friend, taxi, SAFEwalk, etc.
• Download and use WiscGuardian — UWPD’s campus safety app that lets students build communities of “guardians” who are notified if a student does not deactivate a timer set for a period when, say, the student is walking alone on campus.