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Concord man charged in sexual assault at UNC Charlotte

A Concord man has been charged with sexual battery after a UNC Charlotte student reported being assaulted in her dorm room early Friday, according to police.

Damion Pruitt, 21, was in UNCC police custody less than 12 hours after the assault was reported, said UNCC police Chief Jeffrey Baker. Pruitt is not a student or affiliated with the school in any way.

The assault reportedly took place about 5:30 a.m. in a third-floor room at Pine Hall, a dormitory on the northern edge of the campus.

The victim told police she did not know her attacker. She said she awoke and found herself being sexually assaulted, police said.

The suspect “fled the location in an unknown direction,” according to police.

The rooms in Pine Hall – a residence hall that has coed floors and houses mostly upperclassmen – are described as suites, said UNCC spokeswoman Buffie Stephens.

A door off the main hallway opens to a common space shared by suite mates, with two rooms located off the common area, she said.

Pruitt was an acquaintance of one of the victim’s suite mates and had stayed overnight, Baker said. “He exited the room within the suite to allegedly use the bathroom, then allegedly sexually assaulted (the victim),” the police chief said.

Police had developed a suspect by 10:30 a.m. and had obtained a warrant for Pruitt’s arrest by midafternoon, Baker said. Police served the warrant in Concord and took Pruitt into custody to be interviewed around 4:30 p.m.

The police chief said Pruitt would be taken to the Mecklenburg County jail after being questioned.

The alleged attack was not a random act, Baker said, calling it a crime of opportunity, not predatory. He emphasized that there was no forced entry into the victim’s suite.

“There are actually three preventative locks prior to getting to a room,” he said. Residents have to swipe a key card to enter the building, again to gain access to their suite. Each bedroom also has a deadbolt lock.

Pruitt was placed on probation after two convictions of underage drinking in 2010 and 2011, according to Rowan County court records. He was also found guilty of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods in 2009.

Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda
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