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Sex offender arrested on campus

Dalbert+Banks+is+apprehended+by+police+outside+of+the+George+Rowland+White+performance+space.+Banks%2C+a+registered+sex+offender%2C+was+arrested+after+watching+a+dance+class+in+Lawrence+Hall+Thursday.
Dalbert Banks is apprehended by police outside of the George Rowland White performance space. Banks, a registered sex offender, was arrested after watching a dance class in Lawrence Hall Thursday.

Dalbert Banks is apprehended by police outside of the George Rowland White performance space. Banks, a registered sex offender, was arrested after watching a dance class in Lawrence Hall Thursday.

Photo by Kayla Snyder

Photo by Kayla Snyder

Dalbert Banks is apprehended by police outside of the George Rowland White performance space. Banks, a registered sex offender, was arrested after watching a dance class in Lawrence Hall Thursday.

Written By Nikole Kost, Photo Editor

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A registered sex offender lurking outside of a dance class in Lawrence Hall led to charges of aggravated assault with campus and city authorities on Sept. 7, according to Point Park’s crime report.

Tyler Kerbel, a sophomore dance major, recalled one of his friends telling a story about suspect Dalbert Banks, 36, of Knoxville coming into the studio before and watching another class.

“I feel like we’ve all seen him around so much that we didn’t really think anything of it,” Kerbel said. “It was definitely a lesson to always speak up if you see something suspicious even if it may not be. It never hurts just to tell someone.”

Kerbel, along with sophomore dance majors Victoria Watson and Lexie Knutson, were all in the class Banks was watching.

According to Watson, Kerbel and Knutson, Banks was standing next to the elevator outside of the George Rowland White dance studio in Lawrence Hall during the 4:20 p.m. Dance Composition class.

Police approached Banks which led to an altercation resulting in Banks fleeing. Police tasered Banks, who then took off his shirt to remove the taser. Banks ran outside through the stairs setting off the emergency alarm, afterwards running into traffic where he was eventually arrested on the sidewalk. According to police, Banks was in possession of a knife during the arrest.

“It was nerve wracking and kind of scary,” Watson said. “Apparently he has been watching all last year and over the summer.”

Kerbel and Knutson noticed Banks at the beginning of the class.

“I thought he was a student,” Knutson said.

Judith Leifer-Bentz, associate professor in the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA), had the students run to the corner of the classroom away from the windows.

Since the spring 2017 semester, desk attendants have not been posted during the day in Lawrence Hall, Pioneer Hall, Conestoga Hall and Boulevard Apartments. Attendants are now posted at these buildings from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. each evening.

Damiene Palmer, a weekend desk attendant on campus, claims he wasn’t notified by campus police about what happened on Thursday.

“I believe the issue is about money,” Palmer said. “About 12 guards lost their jobs here.”

Lawrence and Academic Halls are the only campus buildings that do not require students to scan their ID for entry before 7 p.m.

“I feel like anything could happen to any one of these students down here, especially having the halfway house right next door to the school,” Palmer said. “Anybody could walk in when there are no guards.”

According to the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law website, there are 21 registered sex offenders living in Renewal, Inc., a non-profit organization housing individuals in the criminal justice system located at 339 Boulevard of the Allies.

Point Park’s Chief of Police, Jeffrey Besong, released a statement exclusively for the Globe:

“Point Park University takes the safety of its students, faculty and staff very seriously. This incident acts as a reminder for everyone on campus to contact Public Safety regarding any suspicious behavior. When police officers responded to the scene, they interviewed the subject and determined it was not appropriate for him to be on campus.

“Once he was in custody, there was no threat to the community, so a PointALERT message was not issued. As per the established guidelines of PointALERT, if the suspect had fled the scene, an alert would have been sent to the campus community. We encourage everyone on campus to sign up for PointALERT, and to download the TIP411 app, which allows people to anonymously communicate with officers.”

Updated Sept. 13, 2017 at 1:24 p.m.: A previous version of this article noted that desk attendants begin their post at 7 p.m.. Desk attendants are at every residential building (Lawrence Hall, Boulevard Apartments, Pioneer Hall and Conestoga Halls) from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day. Additionally, a previous version of this article noted that Lawrence Hall is the only building that does not require to scan ID for entry before 7 p.m. Academic Hall, while manned by a desk attendant 24/7, does not require ID scanning.

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