Loretto closes as court officials visit

Jurors and court officials will survey Loretto Hall tomorrow morning, visiting the site of an alleged rape last September and causing the evacuation of residents from the second floor and the basement.

With the trial looming, the room where the assault allegedly took place was evacuated this weekend. The two residents who currently live in the room were moved to the Howard Johnson hotel Friday and Saturday night, allowing for the victim and detectives to recreate how the room was organized last year.

“The girl came back in here with detectives so she could show how her room was set up,” said College of Arts and Sciences freshman Stacie Boucouvalas-Gianourakas. “We couldn’t be in the room starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and [South Campus assistant hall director Mark Coen] didn’t know how long it would take, so [Boston University] paid for us to stay in the Howard Johnson both Friday and Saturday night.”

Both Boucouvalas-Gianourakas and Center for English Language and Orientation Programs student Betty Terraneo said they didn’t know they lived in the victim’s room until they met with Coen. The pair opted to stay in the room, though they were given alternatives if the room’s history made them weary.

“I didn’t find out the victim lived on my floor and even in my room until I met with [Coen],” she said. “They offered me a room change if I was uncomfortable.”

Terraneo said BU should have told her of the rape before she moved into Loretto.

“If they told me before I came here, I would not have lived here,” she said. “I never thought something like this could happen in my room just a year ago.”

Coen did admit to Boucouvalas-Gianourakas the evacuation of the room came as somewhat of a surprise, though.

“They said that if they knew the room would be needed for the trial, then they would not have assigned anyone to this room,” Boucouvalas-Gianourakas said.

On Thursday, a letter from Director of Residence Life John Weldon was sent to all Loretto residents notifying them of the evacuation, which will occur tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Residents said they were making the necessary arrangements, and were supportive of the evacuation.

School of Management freshman Alisha Bhadelia said the evacuation doesn’t hinder her schedule. Instead, she said she wondered about the current safety of Loretto.

“Someone who got kicked out of the dorm this year climbed up the side to the first floor roof and went into the study lounge, which is next to my room,” she said.

In September 1999, Abdelmajid Akouk, 32, allegedly broke into Loretto through a basement window and hid in the second floor restroom. He then allegedly pulled a knife on the victim, who had gone to the bathroom for a drink of water, raped her, forced her to her bedroom and assaulted her again.

Akouk is charged with two counts of aggravated rape, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed assault in a dwelling. The trial is expected to begin this week.

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