Early Saturday, Oxford police chased down and arrested a 21-year-old Miami employee for raping a 21-year-old female student in the backyard of an off-campus house one block west of the university’s Heritage Commons apartment complex.
Brandon Levi Gilbert, a Miami building and grounds assistant, is in Butler County Jail facing first-degree rape felony charges, among other lesser charges, for the alleged attack — the seventh sexual assault reported in the city of Oxford since the fall semester began.
The university suspended Gilbert without pay while the Oxford Police Department (OPD) investigates.
Just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday, it was by chance that Officer Mark Ledermeier was on a routine traffic stop at the intersection of Poplar and Ardmore when he heard a woman’s screams nearby.
“The screams grew louder and could only be described as blood-curdling screams coming from a nearby unknown area,” Ledermeier wrote in the report.
When he stepped out of his patrol car to investigate, he saw a young woman covered in dead grass and leaves, running in his direction.
The woman, whose name was not released, was wearing only one shoe and her belt was undone. Distraught to the point of hysteria, she told Ledermeier she had been attacked.
Alerted by Ledermeier, more police came to the scene, then tracked Gilbert down on East Central Avenue, not far from the scene of the attack. At the OPD, the woman identified Gilbert as her attacker.
The woman told detectives that she had met Gilbert earlier that night at a bar Uptown and asked him to walk her home.
When they arrived at 106 Ardmore, she said, Gilbert threw her to the ground and punched her in the right ear repeatedly, causing her to lose her hearing.
She fought back, punching Gilbert several times.
“[She] stated that she saw my overhead lights nearby while she was being attacked,” Ledermeier said in the report. “She stated that the male held her down and told her to ‘shut up,’ likely because he witnessed my overhead lights as well.”
Emily Bailer, who graduated from Miami in 2017, worked with Gilbert at Miami Catering in the summers of 2017 and 2018 and was shocked when she heard of his arrest.
“He was hard-working and polite,” Bailer told The Miami Student in a Facebook message. “He’d ask me to hang out with him a few times, and I politely declined since I wasn’t interested … Another co-worker told me to never hang out with him one-on-one — something just didn’t feel right.”
She said he never made her feel uncomfortable — she thought he just wanted someone to hang out with.
The victim was taken to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital for treatment and evaluation by a sexual assault nurse examiner.
At the scene, officers found the woman’s second shoe in the driveway of 106 Ardmore and her phone in the yard at the same address. Gilbert’s belt was found in the grass near the driveway, and his phone was discovered near the woman’s shoe.
Claire Wagner, university spokeswoman, reiterated in an email to The Miami Student that sexual assault and violence is not tolerated on Miami’s campus.
“We are grateful for the work of the Oxford Police Department and their swift action in making this arrest,” Wagner said.
Check back to miamistudent.net for further updates and information regarding this story.
Additional reporting by Céilí Doyle