Crime

Grad student arrested in connection to a string of groping incidents on campus

University of Central Florida campus police released this photo of Abdullah Mohammed Zaman, 30, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, after they arrested him on three counts of battery and one count of attempted battery in recent cases of women being inappropriately touched on the Orlando campus.
University of Central Florida campus police released this photo of Abdullah Mohammed Zaman, 30, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, after they arrested him on three counts of battery and one count of attempted battery in recent cases of women being inappropriately touched on the Orlando campus. Twitter

An electrical engineering doctoral student at the University of Central Florida was arrested Friday by campus police and accused of inappropriately touching four women since November and trying to grab a fifth, UCF police say.

According to campus police, Abdullah Mohammed Zaman’s approach usually revolved around finding a woman alone on campus, telling her she had a scratch on some part of her body — her legs, her back — and then touching her.

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Abdullah Mohammed Zaman booking photo on Feb. 2, 2018. Orange County Jail

The first incident happened on Nov. 10 but wasn’t reported until Jan. 22, after the mother of one of the victims saw reports about groping on the Orlando campus and thought it fit with what her daughter had told her had happened earlier, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The victim told UCF police she was in a garage near a business administration building when a man approached her and asked for help to jump-start his car. He said she had a scratch on her leg and touched it. She stepped back. He said it was on the other leg and touched that one, too, according to the arrest affidavit.

In another incident on Nov. 28, Zaman, 30, is accused of approaching a woman as she was getting into her car and putting his hand on her back. He told her there was a scratch there, according to police. When she turned around, police said, he pushed her up against her car, touched her leg and reportedly said, “I bet you have scratches here, too.”

In three other incidents between Dec. 4 and Jan. 22, police said Zaman touched one woman’s breasts after asking for help with a vending machine and grabbed another woman’s behind after he asked her where to find the science building. Surveillance video from the Jan. 22 incident show he reached for another woman’s leg inside a parking garage, police said.

Self-defense classes filled up fast on the UCF campus after the attacks were reported, ABC’s WFTV 9 reported.

“The reason we were able to make an arrest in this case were good police work, tips from the community, great witnesses and technology the university has installed over the years,” UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said in a post on Twitter.

Zaman is charged with three counts of battery and one count of attempted battery. A fifth charge is pending, police said. He was booked into the Orange County Jail with bond set at $2,000.

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