Attacker, pressured by residents, turns himself in

After attempting to take inappropriate pictures of a female with a cell phone on campus, a 54-year-old man has turned himself in to Bozeman police. On Nov. 17, the perpetrator, Roderick Carbonell of Pennsylvania, phoned the Bozeman Police Department indignant about the report of a possible taser and wanted to make it clear he only had a cell phone.

On Nov. 10, a female student reported being assaulted in a South Hedges elevator. Chief of MSU police Robert Putzke reported, “we got a call from a student who said she got into an elevator and a male she didn’t know got in with her. She thought initially he had tried to reach out with what she thought was a stun gun and touch her leg with it.”

The incident occurred between 11:01 – 11:05 a.m, according to the police report. The victim reported the incident to police an hour later, and an officer arrived at the scene within 10 minutes. The elevator was closed down and the student was taken to the station to complete the report.

According to Putzke, officers obtained the video camera footage of the incident and discovered that the offender had actually pulled out a cell phone, not a stun gun, and tried to take a picture up the student’s skirt. “Our victim in the elevator sort of had the perfect response. She was aware of her surroundings so she knew something was going on. As soon as someone intruded on her personal space she immediately confronted him, not physically, told him to stay away from her, and got out of there as quickly as possible,” Putzke said.

The suspect was described as a white male, approximately 5’1”-5’2”, weighing 115-125 pounds. He had a shaved head, a prominent mustache and goatee, and was wearing a gray shirt, jeans, black jacket and a blue hat with gray lettering. He appeared to be older than a typical college student, possibly in his mid-thirties.

A few hours earlier, a man of similar description was reported for trying to take a photo up a female’s skirt at a business on College St. in Bozeman. Someone noticed the man and he ran off before confrontation at the business. According to Putzke, several people recognized the man via his description and “started using social media to pressure him into turning himself in.” On Nov. 17, Carbonell phoned Bozeman police to turn himself in. On Nov. 18, he was charged with two counts of Surreptitious Visual Observation and Recordation.

Putzke noted that the victim in the elevator had a “model reaction” to a possible assaulter. He advises students in an assault situation to keep eye contact and make note of the attacker’s clothing. According to Putzke, acknowledging someone does more to dissuade attackers than anything else. He also noted that being firm and putting distance between oneself and an attacker are important steps. For students looking to learn more, detectives from the MSU police department are available to put on safety presentations for groups of any size, upon request. Students are also encouraged to visit the resources on the MSU police website for additional information.

Illustration by Alyssa Mavor
Illustration by Alyssa Mavor