Two Students Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Two students were arrested on Monday after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in an on-campus dorm room after the victim attended a fraternity party on Friday night, according to a statement from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

Nakeem D. Gardner, 18, and Christian A. Lopez, 24, were both charged with aggravated sexual assault, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement. Additionally, Gardner was charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly videotaping and taking pictures of the victim without her consent, Molinelli went on to say.

According to the statement, detectives responded on Saturday after the victim reported to Hackensack University Medical Center. The victim told detectives that she had attended a fraternity party on Friday night and into Saturday morning, the prosecutor said.

“On Saturday morning she awoke in a state of undress in a dorm room on the college campus and believed she had been sexually assaulted,” Molinelli said.

Detectives, with the assistance of Ramapo College public safety, identified several people who were nearby the dorm room where the incident occurred, reviewed video surveillance and conducted interviews, the prosecutor said.

“A review of video surveillance on campus as well as interviews of numerous students resulted in detectives identifying two suspects and confirming that the victim was highly intoxicated and unable to consent to sexual activity,” Molinelli said.

Gardner and Lopez are being held at the Bergen County Jail on $300,000 bail with no 10 percent option, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

President Peter Mercer released a statement on Tuesday morning addressing the arrests.

“We are extremely distressed by these allegations,” Mercer said.

The statement urged anyone with any information to contact authorities. It also outlined the College’s sexual assault prevention and alcohol awareness programs, including AlcoholEdu, Haven – Understanding Sexual Assault and Green Dot, however, Mercer said that the allegations may force the College to re-evaluate their programming.

“The safety and well-being of our students remains our paramount concern. Therefore, while we believe our sexual assault prevention programming and procedures are strong, the shocking nature of these allegations compels us to re-examine them,” Mercer stated. 

Additional reporting by Laura French