Political science and international studies senior Tatiana Gonzalez tweeted on Wednesday she encountered the man on campus who stalked her and other female students in 2016. According to Gonzalez, LSUPD was unhelpful when she contacted them.
“Today I called LSU Police because the guy who stalked me and these other girls my freshman year is back on campus and he recognized me,” Gonzalez said. “Instead of LSU police actively starting an investigation on him, they told me to look up more information and to try and get his name.”
Abiel Mark Khatami, the man Gonzalez saw on campus in 2016, was arrested for stalking allegations. Khatami is now a student at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard said LSUPD does not have a record of Gonzalez’s report of stalking.
“We are trying to get her in touch with LSUPD,” Ballard said. “There may have been some misunderstanding going on. We certainly want to clear the situation up.”
On Friday, the University responded to Gonzalez’s tweet, encouraging her to direct message her contact information so University officials could address the situation.
According to Ballard, the University’s social media team also provided a specific LSUPD contact to Gonzalez.
Ballard confirmed Khatami was arrested on stalking allegations in 2016. Because Khatami had not been court ordered to stay off campus, he is not in violation of any laws by being on campus, Ballard said.
Gonzalez said she never filed a report with LSUPD in 2016 because she didn’t initially realize Khatami had been stalking her.
Communication studies senior Victoria Kennedy lived in South Hall during her freshman year in 2016, at the same time as Gonzalez. Kennedy said Khatami entered classes and libraries in South Hall where he would sit and watch while students worked, making them feel uncomfortable.
“South Hall is a residential complex strictly for freshmen,” Kennedy said. “We were a pretty tight-knit community, so we knew when someone walking around wasn’t a resident. After a while, everyone was becoming very cautious about the unwelcome stranger.”
Kennedy said she was warned Khatami was stalking some female students and that he had chased two female students into the dorm and up the stairs. He was then caught and banned from entering South Hall, according to Kennedy.
Gonzalez said she was worried about freshmen’s safety when she saw Khatami on campus again.
“It’s really terrifying that he is back,” Gonzalez said. “I’m very concerned he is going to do the same thing to another dorm.”
Gonzalez said she is “disgusted” with how authorities handled the situation and said LSUPD would not take a report from her until she had called three times.
After she complained about how the situation was handled, Gonzalez said, LSUPD asked her to go to the station. Gonzalez said she talked to three different people when she arrived at the station.
“Unfortunately, I think they have followed all the protocol they could,” Gonzalez said. “I even had my dean talk to them.”
Gonzalez said she did file a report with LSUPD on Wednesday, despite Ballard’s statement to the Reveille that LSUPD had no record of the report.
Gonzalez said she does not want any female University student to be harrassed when preventative steps could be taken by campus authorities.
“Multiple women have reached out to me with similar stories of the authorities dismissing their concerns,” Gonzalez said. “We now have a saying on campus- ‘See Something, Say Something.’ Us women are seeing something and we are trying to do something but authorities aren’t taking us seriously.”
Gonzalez said she was surprised at how much attention her tweets have gotten. Gonzalez’s tweet received over 1,000 likes, and multiple comments from Twitter users, especially female University students.
Screen arts senior Sicily Wafer said she was also made uncomfortable by Khatami when she was a freshman.
“I remember getting straight stared at and followed by this dude when I was a freshman (I don’t know) how he’s still doing this,” Wafer tweeted.
Marketing senior Colleen Ball tweeted about her experience with an unrelated stalking incident, and said she had positive interactions with LSUPD.
“When I had issues (with) stalking when I lived on campus LSUPD helped me out a lot and watched out around my dorm and all,” Ball said.
Ballard reiterated LSUPD’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all University students, including female students.
“We want LSU students to feel comfortable and safe on campus,” Ballard said.
The Reveille contacted Abiel Mark Khatami, but he declined to speak futher on the topic, saying the 2016 case was expunged.
When a case is expunged, the legal record of the case is sealed.