Police still investigating E.L. sexual assault case
Police continue to investigate charges on 26-year-old Oswald Scott Wilder, who was arrested in relation to a string of sexual assaults in East Lansing early this summer.
The Vernon, Mich. resident faces seven charges, including one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. Police believe he is responsible for three sexual assaults that took place throughout April and May, with all the incidents occurring near campus.
East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy, who declined to comment on any specific evidence against Wilder, said ELPD still has loose ends to tie before Wilder can be put on trial.
“We’re not seeing many of the ‘hows’ that led us to him,” Murphy said. “But he is in custody and charged, and that’s the most important thing.”
Wilder was arrested Friday and charged Saturday. He is being held in the Ingham County Jail without bond. Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he was not aware of any scheduled pretrial conference for Wilder.
Once Wilder was identified as a suspect, Murphy said police took action and promptly made an arrest.
“We wanted to do it as quickly as possible for fear that the longer he has, the more chances there would be that he’d do it again,” he said.
The first incident occurred around midnight April 20 on Coolidge Road, with the second following at 3 a.m. April 26 on the 300 block of Charles Street. The third incident occurred at 8 p.m. May 16 in the parking lot of Abbott Pointe Apartments, with the suspect dragging the victim behind a dumpster and assaulting her.
When English senior Megan Saputo heard about the three assaults, she said she became more cautious around the apartment she was renting in Cedar Village, where she lived alone.
“It made me really uncomfortable,” dbSaputo said. “Our building’s back door was right by the river, and there’s a dumpster back there — I’ve avoided the back door.”
Although Wilderdb was arrested close to the start of the fall semester, Murphy said there is no correlation between students coming back to East Lansing and the timing of the arrest.
“Even if it had fallen into place back in June or July or before, we would have arrested him,” Murphy said. “Even though MSU was not in session, there are still plenty of people around that need protection.”