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Public lewdness arrest made after library incident

By Zach Mongillo

A 70-year-old man was arrested for masturbating in the stacks of the Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library at Hofstra this past Tuesday at approximately 4 p.m.

Karl Wildermuth, a resident of Uniondale, allegedly sat behind a girl on the seventh floor of the library, stuck his hands in his pants and began to masturbate. It was stated in an e-mail sent by Public Safety on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. that:

"The Department of Public Safety responded within minutes and apprehended the male, determined he was previously banned from the campus and contacted local law enforcement to arrest the individual. The Hempstead Police Department arrested the subject who was eventually charged with burglary, public lewdness and forcible touching from a previous incident."

Wildermuth broke a ban on his presence from the campus, set years ago for a similar situation. A news release issued by the Nassau County Police Department stated, "The defendant had his permission to enter the college revoked in 2000 after an unrelated but similar incident. On September 30, 2009 at 3:30 p.m., Wildermuth entered the college library and grabbed and squeezed a female victim on the buttocks."

Mary Verna, a Nassau County Police Officer, told The Chronicle, "He wasn't supposed to be on the property, and he knew he wasn't supposed to be there."

Students began to hear of the scandal as an ABC 7 news truck parked outside of the library this morning. As soon as news traveled, students expressed disgust for the culprit.

"Hofstra clearly needs to up [its] security. Literally anyone can walk in and out of any building without us having a clue as to whether or not they go here or work here," said junior Amanda Brennan. Later she added, "My old school had more security on its borders and wasn't in a residential area. I think Public Safety is more concerned with ticketing students more so then [student] safety."

Other students agreed, claiming that the University's branch of Public Safety is to blame for the issue happening.

"They should be individually evaluated to determine their true desire and ability to uphold any campus policy so that students and faculty can feel safe anywhere on campus," said freshman Jake Liebowitz. 

Some students, while sympathetic towards the victim, were hardly surprised by the events that took place.

"What happened was obviously creepy and kind of scary. But at the same time, nobody takes this school seriously, and thanks to this old guy, we're just going to have another reason not to," said junior Ana Davis.

Yet many believe that this is something that can't be prevented by tighter security.Sophomore Max Knoblauch took this thought to a literal manner.

"Our library is open to the public, at least for certain hours. So even if our public safety was like, Seal Team Six, this instance wouldn't have been prevented," said Knoblauch.

"While there are plenty of instances we could all cite to prove the university to have poor security, I don't think this is one of them."

Head of Public Safety, Karen O'Callaghan was not available for comment on the matter before press time.

Overheard at Hofstra

Overheard at Hofstra