Man charged with rape and burglary in one of two reported sexual assault cases on UAlbany campus

franklin-casatelli-mug

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A man, who was arrested for allegedly entering a UAlbany building without permission and raping a student, has been arrested 12 other times.

The incident happened at a female student’s residence in Stuyvesant Tower. About 440 students live in the suites with multiple rooms.

“Everyone here seems pretty nice and I like the environment here, but I would never think that it would happen here,” UAlbany sophomore, Chinwndu Meremetoh, who lives at Stuyvesant Tower said.

What Meremetoh never thought would happen on her campus, happened early Sunday morning around 4 a.m. in her residence hall, Stuyvesant Tower.

“A student was in her residence room and she woke up with a man in her bed sexually assaulting her,” said Vice President of Communications and Marketing at UAlbany Joe Brennan.

Brennan says the man entered the building and student’s room without permission and had sex with her without her consent. When the student confronted the man, he ran away.

“Many members of the campus community came forward to assist our police,” Brennan said. “They conducted a speedy investigation and made an arrest.”

Campus police arrested a non-student, 25-year-old Franklin Casatelli of Guilderland. He’s charged with rape in the first degree and burglary in the second degree. Police are investigating how Casatelli got into a building that’s locked 24-7.

“Only residents can get in with a swipe card,” Brennan explained.

This wasn’t Casatelli’s first run-in with the law. The booking department at the Albany County Jail confirms to NEWS10 he has been arrested 12 other times.

That includes in 2007 when he failed to appear in Albany County Family Court. Online records show he was just released from prison on parole Oct. 13 after spending three years for criminal possession of a controlled substance.

“We’re going to keep those patrols up for a little while,” Brennan added. “We don’t think there’s a continuing threat.”

Despite this extra surveillance, students are still concerned, many citing the fact that UAlbany is a public campus.

“You shouldn’t come to school and have to worry about your safety,” said UAlbany sophomore, Sheila Shivers, who lives at Stuyvesant Tower.

“We have to be aware that people do come on and off this campus that don’t go here,” said UAlbany senior, Ashley Rivera, who used to live at Stuyvesant Tower.

Overall though, as Meremetoh says, this incident is a reminder for her and her peers to be more cautious of their surroundings.

“As long as I keep my doors locked and I make sure I’m taking the right steps, you know, to make sure I’m safe, then I’m going to be fine,” Meremetoh said.

The victim has received medical care and the school is offering support to her and other students in the building.

In addition, NEWS10 has confirmed there was another sexual assault incident this Friday, not connected to this morning’s. Campus police are still searching for two males.

The first male is described as a white male, 5’7″, with light hair and blue eyes. The second is 5’9” with light hair and blue eyes. Both are said to be about 18 to 20 years old.

Campus police ask if you have any information regarding either incident, to call the University Police Department at (518) 442-3131.

As for Casatelli, he remains in Albany County Jail, and is expected to be arraigned early Monday morning.

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