A 20-year-old Dartmouth student is challenging the school’s policy against concealed handgun carry, which she argues would better protect her from a man who has allegedly stalked her for four years.
Taylor Woolrich claims that she has been the victim of stalking since the age of 16, when 67-year-old Robert Bennett began harassing her at the San Diego café where she worked, “even sitting outside the store for an entire day and then following her home, demanding that she talk to him and saying he was ‘”trying to protect her,'” according to Fox News.
Bennett’s alleged behaviour quickly escalated and Woolrich was forced to take action.
“Eventually it all came to a climax when he attacked, well attempted to attack my then boyfriend in high school when I was 17-years-old and told him he should never speak to me again and threw hot coffee in his face,” Woolrich said recently at Students for Concealed Carry’s annual conference.
Woolrich was able to obtain an emergency restraining order. However, even the restraining order and matriculating to a school on the opposite side of the country wasn’t enough to deter her alleged stalker. Woolrich says that Bennett contacted her multiple times throughout the school year and even hired a private investigator to track down information on the young student.
The story came to a frightening head when Woolrich came home at the end of the summer.
“After 18 months of not seeing this man,” Woolrich explained, “I got back to my parents’ house at 1:30 a.m. flying in from Dartmouth and at 8:30 a.m. the next morning he was knocking on my front door.”
Bennett was arrested after Woolrich and her family contacted the police. A search of Bennett’s car uncovered duct tape, a slip noose, knives, and other items.
Bennett is currently being held in San Diego and is accused of violating his restraining order, felony stalking and other crimes. While this may be comforting news, Woolrich understandably worries about her safety, and she thinks carrying a concealed handgun would help.
As a result, she contacted Dartmouth hoping to get permission to conceal carry. However, school officials have given a resounding no.
“It’s strictly prohibited and we are not in the habit of making exceptions,” spokesman Justin Anderson told Fox News. “But we certainly do everything we possibly can to make all our students feel safe.”
Besides concerns expressed by Woolrich, Dartmouth has seen a spate in alleged assaults on campus recently. The Dartmouth, the college’s newspaper, reported that two men were arrested on July 2nd for allegedly attacking a student and then robbing him.
Another alleged assault occurred during the early morning hours of July 27th when a 23-year-old-man reportedly attacked a 53-year-old resident across from the college campus and Theta Delta Chi fraternity.
“Every morning I check the inmate lookup online to see if he has made bail,” she told Fox News. “I feel safe for now, but the day he gets out is the day I will have to leave Dartmouth.”
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