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We all know that sexual predators are anywhere and everywhere in the world, and that they can be someone we know whether they're related to us or not. Friends, family, co-workers, etc. It could be anyone. I myself had never expected something like it to happen to me. Mostly because at the time I was already 18 and most of the people who I've told this story to also agreed. This story most people would call it sexual harassment instead of being sexually preyed on. I guess you could say it was both.
It began like this.
I was living as a student resident at the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps Center in St. Paul. I had enrolled hoping to finally earn my high-school diploma and also take a vocational training class to try and get some amount of job experience by the time I left. Now, of course, there were rules we all had to follow if we wanted to remain living on center. First of all, Job Corps was a zero tolerance campus, which meant that anything that had to do with drugs, violence, theft, alcohol, and sexual harassment were not allowed on campus. At all. And anyone whether staff or student were either expelled or arrested if they were caught violating these rules. Now I know most of you who are reading this are thinking "Well, every school has a zero tolerance policy." And you're right, but I had never expected a staff member to violate these rules. To be more specific, I had never expected a security guard to violate one of these rules.
Now, this incident happened back in 2017 during the summer. It was Saturday and I had taken a nap after dinner. When I woke up, I noticed the weather was a little cloudy but it was nice and warm outside so I decided to go for a walk around campus. I put on my headphones so I could listen to music and began my walk enjoying the rather nice and peaceful atmosphere. It was no big surprise to me though since the weekends at school were pretty mellow what with most of the other students gone away for the weekend to visit their friends and family. The rule for students was that if they wanted to leave for the weekend, they had to have a weekend pass filled out by Friday. The pass had to included who they were staying with, the address where they were staying, an emergency contact, and what time they would be back on Sunday. If you weren't leaving for the weekend then you had to stay on campus unless you were going on a recreational trip with another staff member.
As I continued my walk around the school grounds I was walking through the parking lot past the cafeteria and the Academics building. The entrance to the Academics Building was the security checkpoint where you would walk through the metal detector while the staff would check your bags. The security staff were pretty cool people and friendly with the students, and sometimes if you didn't have anything to do then you could sit and chat with them. Now for me, normally, I didn't really sit and chat with security. I would just usually say a quick "hello" then continue about my day. But like I mentioned before this day was different for me because at that moment as I was passing by the security checkpoint I saw one of the students waving me down. I stopped and asked what the problem was.
He told me that one of the security guards wanted to see me and as any usual student would the first thought that popped into my head was "Oh crap, I'm in trouble."
I walked over to the entrance of the Academics building while wondering about what I could have possibly done that could get me in trouble with security. I didn't do drugs, I didn't drink, I hadn't stolen anything, and I certainly didn't have any concealed weapons on me. When I walked in I noticed there was only one security guard on duty which again was no big surprise because it was the weekend. When I walked in he looked up and smiled at me saying hello, and gesturing me to sit down next to him. I was still feeling a bit nervous about why he wanted to talk to me. At first, the guard started telling me about how someone had come to campus earlier today looking for me. He said that he didn't get this said person's name but when he started describing this person to me it sounded like one of my old friends which made sense since I and her had talked about visiting each other eventually and I had given her directions on how to get to Job Corps. So I texted my friend on Snapchat while the guard was talking asking her if she had come here to campus earlier looking for me. Surprisingly she said no, so I started thinking about any other of my friends who could fit the description that the security guard was giving. I couldn't think of anyone else so the guard changed the subject. I have to admit that I felt pretty awkward sitting there with him because I wasn't a sociable person and was more introverted. So as I sat there with the guard as he asked me how school was going and if I liked living at school etc., etc., and I just answered with "yes" or "yeah" and I noticed out of the corner of my eye the way he was looking at me. And I didn't like it.
That was the first red flag for me. The second was when he started talking about the clothes I wore after school. And that was really strange to me because I mostly wore comfy clothes like sweatpants and a hoodie. I wasn't really interested in the fancy designer brand name clothes that I saw most of the girls wore. Also, I couldn't afford clothes like that. Then I realized that the clothing he was describing was a long black skirt that I had worn to the Valentine's Day dance back in February. A friend had given it to me after she grew out of it and it was the only "nice" piece of clothing that I owned besides a few blouses. But I never really wore those unless there was a special event like a dance or something. And it was weird to me that he was talking about a piece of clothing that I wore only once. The conversation eventually shifted from my clothes to him weirdly asking me if I was leaving for the weekend. I told him no but admitted that I wished I could get off of campus for a while to walk around and explore the neighborhood. Job Corps use to be an open campus and students were able to go wherever they wanted after school as long as they were back by curfew but they had to make it a closed campus for safety reasons. After telling him about what I wished I could do I believe that's when he thought that was his chance to try and butter me up.
He started by saying, "Well, how about I ask one of my friends to drive you around and take you wherever you want to go?"
Now, most people would probably think, "Wow, this guy is awesome!"
And yeah, at that moment, I was thinking that in that moment.
But that instantly changed as soon as he said "Now, if I do this for you then you can't tell anybody. Not even the staff."
I asked him why not, expecting him to say something like "I could get in big trouble" or "I could get fired."
But he surprised me by saying
"Well, because then there might be favoritism, you know, like the other girls might think you're my favorite student and get jealous."
I kept in mind at that point that he was only talking about the girls in my dorm. He said nothing about the boy. Also, he didn't seem that concerned about the fact that he might lose his job.
And the final comment he made that made me want to vomit was when he looked at me and said: "But to me, you're more beautiful than any of the other girls in this school."
That was when I got up and got out of there as fast as I could.
I got back to the girl's dorm still trying to figure out what just happened. This security guard was old enough to be my dad! And he was just trying to convince me to go with his "friend" around the town. I knew I had to tell someone right away. The first person I went to was my grandfather. I texted him and told him about what had just happened. he told me to go straight to the Residential Assistant and tell them about it. Next, I went to my friend who was sitting in our floor lounge watching TV. She said the exact same thing that my grandfather had. So finally when there was a trip to the nearby Walmart I saw my chance and signed up to go. My friend came along with me and while we were waiting in the van for the others to get done shopping I told the staff member who was supervising the trip about what happened between me and the security guard.
After I finished my story, the RA shivered and said: "Oh my god, I'm creeped out just by listening to it!"
I was glad that she believed me and she assured me that we were going to take care of the problem right away. When we got back to campus My friend and I followed the RA into her office on the first floor. She called the Residential Manager that was on duty for the weekend to come down to her office ASAP. When she did the RA asked me to re-tell the story of me and the security guard. So I did. And the Residential Manager told me to fill out an incident report front and back if I had to and that after I was done, I was to not go anywhere near the Academics building by myself.
After I turned in the incident report, I needed a cigarette, so I went outside with my friends to the smoking area on our campus. All of my other friends wanted me to tell them about what happened but the staff had told me to also keep the situation confidential.
So I was about to tell them that I couldn't tell them what happened when one of the girls who I had seen before on campus came up to me and asked me, "So what happened?"
I told her that I couldn't talk about the conversation I had with the RA and the Manager but she told me "No, I need to know. Because the same thing happened to me with that security guard."
I was shocked. I wanted to ask her why she didn't tell anyone before but I already knew the answer. Another one of my friends said that it happened to her too. Only it was more disturbing for her because he actually asked her for sexual favors and had tried to touch her. That's when I knew that this sick deviant was using his job as an excuse to prey on the female students whether they were under or of legal age. As I went back to the dorms I had made the mistake of walking back by myself and as I looked toward the cafeteria I saw him standing there. He had been watching me the entire time I was with my friends. Before he could try and talk to me again, I ran for the dorm.
A few days after the incident, I had heard mixed stories going around campus about what had happened to that security guard. Some of them said he was fired, others said that the cops came and he was arrested but I didn't really care. All I knew was that he was gone and none of the girls had to worry about him ever again.