By Amanda Milkovits
Four male Johnson & Wales University students have been arrested in connection with a reported sexual assault and alleged drugging of two female students at the university.
The police have charged Mohammed Alsaqer, a 20-year-old sophomore, and Yazeed Alasiri, a 23-year-old senior, both from Saudi Arabia, with assaulting the women at the young men's residence in Pawtucket after meeting the women at a nightclub in Providence on Thursday night.
Late Tuesday night, Pawtucket police charged two more Johnson & Wales students -- Mohammed Aljohani, 20, and Tareq Alharbi, 22 -- with first-degree sexual assault.
Aljohani, a sophomore, enrolled at the university in the fall of 2014; Alharbi, a freshman, enrolled in March 2014, a university spokeswoman said.
All four accused students have been placed on interim suspension pending the university conduct board’s review of the case, the university said.
Alsaqer and Alasiri had danced with the women at the Colosseum nightclub in Providence and met them again late Thursday night, according to the police during a District Court appearance by the men Tuesday.
Pawtucket police Sgt. Mark Boisclair said during the court appearance that the men invited the women back to their apartment at 413 Central Ave., in Pawtucket, to smoke marijuana. The women agreed and were handed open containers of beer to drink during the ride back, Boisclair said in court.
The women later told the police that they smoked a hookah at the apartment and began feeling ill. One woman told the police that she went into a bathroom and was followed by Alsaqer, who covered her mouth and raped her, Boisclair said. She told the police that Alsaqer carried her into a bedroom, where she woke up to a different man raping her. Boisclair said the police have not yet identified that man.
The other woman said that she blacked out, but woke up to Alasiri groping her in a bed, Boisclair said in court.
Both women told the police that they were unable to fight back, leading investigators to believe they had been drugged, Boisclair said.
The police were called Friday evening after one of the women went to Women & Infants Hospital.
Alsaqer is charged with first-degree sexual assault, and Alasiri is charged with second-degree sexual assault. Magistrate Joseph P. Ippolito Jr. ordered Alsaqer held without bail and set Alasiri's bail at $100,000 surety. The men were assisted by an Arabic-speaking interpreter.
The federal Clery Act requires that a university notify the community when it becomes aware of a threat to the physical safety of the campus community, even if the incident occurs off-campus, Frank D. LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said.
"Until [Tuesday], Pawtucket police requested that JWU not take any action or provide notice to the community so not to hamper their investigation,'' JWU's Pelosi said.