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Student In Custody For Trespassing in Women’s Dorms, Assaulting Residents

A student who admitted to entering or attempting to enter every female residence on the first and second floors of Stone Hall faces charges on 19 counts, including indecent assault without consent, indecent assault of an unconscious person, burglary, criminal trespass, and harassment.

Zhongyuan Shao, an 18-year-old currently on a student visa from China, is a resident of Wolf Hall in Pollock Halls and does not have access to Stone Hall in East Halls. In addition to the incidents in Stone Hall, another woman reported Shao entered her room in Wolf Hall without invitation.

All of the women who reported Shao for entering their dorm rooms said they did not invite him or want him to be there. The incidents are still under investigation, but thus far, none of the women were found to have had a previous relationship with Shao.

According to court documents, Shao matched the description of the suspect in every incident and was positively identified by at least six of the victims through surveillance videos.

Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham said there was significant delayed reporting in this case. Only one incident was initially reported to police, and it wasn’t until a PSUAlert was sent out about it that more women came forward.

Timeline of events, according to court documents 

Saturday at approximately 4 a.m. in Wolf Hall

The victim awoke to a man touching her chest. The woman reportedly asked Shao why he was there, and he responded saying he knew her and that she invited him there. He acted as if he was going to take off his pants and reportedly tried to touch her thigh and said, “(are) we going to do this?” The woman said she protested aggressively and vocally, and the man fled.

Sunday between approximately 2:30-3:30 a.m. in Stone Hall

The victim awoke to a man matching Shao’s description standing in her doorway. She confronted Shao and when he did not reply, she awoke her boyfriend. He aggressively confronted Shao, who then fled from the residence.

Sunday at approximately 3 a.m. in Stone Hall 

The victim reported being awakened to a man matching Shao’s description standing next to her bed touching her shoulder. The victim alerted her boyfriend, who confronted the suspect, causing him to flee the residence.

Sunday at approximately 3 a.m. in Stone Hall 

The resident was awakened by her minor sister attempting to lock her residence door. In an interview with investigators, the minor said a man matching Shao’s description touched her when she was asleep. When she awoke from her sleep she confronted Shao and he fled.

Sunday at approximately 3 a.m. in Stone Hall 

The victim and her minor sister were asleep when they were awakened by the door opening and a man matching Shao’s description entered the room. The suspect fled after being confronted, and he unsuccessfully tried to return to the room approximately 20 minutes later.

Sunday at approximately 3 a.m. in Stone Hall 

The victim awoke to someone trying to open her locked door. Thinking it was her friend, she answered the door but was approached by a man instead. She immediately slammed and relocked her door.

Sunday at approximately 3:15 a.m. in Stone Hall

Shao trespassed into the victim’s residence hall. During the investigation, the victim told police this was the second incident involving Shao entering her residence. She explained that at about 3 a.m. on September 28, Shao entered her residence hall. The victim was awake watching a movie when Shao opened her door. The victim confronted Shao, who claimed he was invited to the residence by her roommate, who was not there. He provided an unknown female’s name as the person he came to visit and left after the victim aggressively confronted him.

Sunday at approximately 3:15 a.m. in Stone Hall 

The victim reported she was awakened to an unknown male inappropriately touching her in her unlocked dorm room. The victim reported this to the police and a PSUAlert was later sent out.

Sunday at 3:58 a.m.

Assault reported to University Police.

Sunday at 6:38 a.m.

PSUAlert sent out regarding the reported indecent assault that occurred at 3:15 a.m.

Sunday at 4:26 p.m.

PSUAlert sent out confirming the suspect was in custody.

Penn State Spokeswoman Lisa Powers said these types of crimes are difficult to predict, challenging to solve, and often go unreported.

“One key to putting a stop to these types of incidents is to immediately report any suspicious activity you may see or encounter,” Powers said.

Parham asked students to keep their doors locked at all times, not allow piggybacking, and never let strangers into their building.

Parham said this is still an ongoing investigation, adding “he hasn’t had his day in court yet. We’d rather not get into specifics at this point.”

Shao’s preliminary hearing is set for October 22 in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. He is currently behind bars at the Centre County Correctional Facility on $250,000 bail.

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