WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - A 50-year-old man has been arrested and charged with rape after a William & Mary student reported a sexual assault early Saturday morning.
Williamsburg police identified the suspect at Jerome White of James City County.
Police say the investigation began after an officer noticed a college-aged female walking down Scotland Street with White around 2:30 am on Saturday.
The officer stopped to help.
"There is no telling what he prevented by intervening in this," said Major Greg Riley with the Williamsburg Police Dept.
As the officer approached them, the man walked away, leaving the woman alone. The officer then escorted the woman, who was a student, back home.
Forty-five minutes later, the student made the allegations.
“I think it has a lot to do with fear," said Riley, when asked why the student did not come forward sooner.
"The situation itself generated that fear, and it took her some time to come down from that; calm down to where she wanted to report.”
Police say White was quickly arrested in part because the officer had seen him with the female earlier.
Smith was arrested around 3 p.m. Saturday after an interview, and charged with one count of Rape.
William & Mary students were notified of the assault this afternoon.
"It’s kind of alarming because it is right on campus," said senior Blair Toedte. "That is where a lot of people live. There are a lot of dorms right there.”
Students were given a sexual assault resource poster along with the email notification.
Toedte told News 3's Merris Badcock she and her friend do not always use the buddy system when walking home at night.
“I do tend to walk alone. I mean especially with finals going on right now, a lot of people are leaving the library at 2:00 in the morning, walking home.”
Police recommend all students walk in groups or with a trusted friend, especially at night.
Many of the bars and restaurants located along Scotland Street told News 3 they happily call cabs for patrons who have had too much to drink, and would be happy to do so for a student who did not want to walk home alone.
Police also recommended using the Uber app if students need a cab ride.
White has been transported to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.