Student’s self-defense training thwarts abduction

Charlottesville Police charged Runk dining hall employee Matthew Beaulieu with abduction with the intent to defile, a class 2 felony, after he attempted to abduct a female University student Thursday evening.

The student was walking in the 2200 block of Stadium Road at about midnight Thursday evening when she noticed a vehicle following her, according to a Police report released last week.

A University Dining Hall employee who wished to remain unnamed confirmed Beaulieu had been working at Runk until about 11 p.m. that night.

The vehicle stopped and the lone occupant got out, ran toward the victim, grabbed her and attempted to pull her into the vehicle, before she escaped, according to the Police release.

The student said she fought the attacker using training she had received from a Sexual Assault Resource Agency presentation at her sorority house, according to the press release.

The attacker gave up and ultimately returned to his vehicle. The victim immediately called 911 and described the attack.

“All the University organizations centered around sexual assault advocacy (the White Ribbon campaign, SAPA, SARA) emphasize self defense,” said third-College student Caroline Bartholomew, an outreach chair for the University’s Sexual Assault Peer Advocacy group. “Especially with this issue, you see that [knowledge of self-defense] can make a huge difference.”

Beaulieu was arrested later that evening on Interstate 64.

He is currently being held without bond in the Charlottesville/Albemarle Regional Complex.
University Dining Services did not return a request for comment by press time. Unlike in similar incidents, the University did not notify the student body of the attack or arrest via email.

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