Bond revoked for man accused of trespassing, assault at Belmont Abbey College

Authorities said the man broke into a residence hall and sexually assaulted a female student.
Authorities said the man broke into a residence hall and sexually assaulted a female student.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:58 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 4:21 PM EDT
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BELMONT, N.C. (WBTV) - A man accused of trespassing and assaulting a student at Belmont Abbey College had his bond revoked and increased during an appearance in Gaston County court on Tuesday afternoon.

John Alexander was originally set to appear on Monday. According to the district attorney, that appearance was moved to the Tuesday afternoon session.

Authorities said Alexander broke into a residence hall on the school’s campus on Sept. 3.

Police said he went to one of the two floors of girl’s rooms, went through some of the rooms, and sexually assaulted a student. Surveillance footage captured him roaming the halls.

Surveillance footage showed Alexander walking the halls of a residence hall.
Surveillance footage showed Alexander walking the halls of a residence hall.(Belmont Abbey College)

Jail records show that Alexander is charged with second-degree trespassing, breaking and entering, burglary, secret peeping and sexual battery.

While some students said that the keypad on the dorm did not work properly at the time of the incident, campus police said the doors were still locked.

Two days after the incident, officials said Alexander turned himself in to Mecklenburg County authorities but was later moved to Gaston County, where the charges stem from.

He bonded out less than 24 hours later on a $50,000 bond.

“The state think that’s insufficient to guarantee the safety of this community, here in Gaston County,” said Travis Page, the District Attorney for Gaston County.

The DA argued for bond to be increased, citing a flight risk, the nature of the crime and potentially more victims.

Page added, “a bond of $500,000 secured is more than enough to guarantee his appearance, also to protect the safety of this community and let the students of Belmont Abbey know that they can rest easy tonight.”

Tim Cannady, the defense attorney said, “the case law says good cause is the commission of a new crime or violation of the orders already issues, so the release orders in place, the state doesn’t have either of those here.”

According to the bond release agreement, Alexander is not allowed on-campus at Belmont Abbey – an order he hasn’t broken since his release.

“He’s a level 1, nothing like this in his background,” said Cannady.

Despite the argument, Judge Ed Bogle increased his bond to $500,000 and he was taken into custody by bailiffs.

If released, Alexander must wear a GPS monitor and remain on house arrest except for work.

WBTV talked to a student at Belmont Abbey College about safety after the incident.

Ashton Hansley, a student at Belmont Abbey College said there are more police on campus and you must badge in to get on-campus at certain times.

“A presence of Belmont police department, “it’s been a slight increase of officers at night around the campus and the specific dorm,” said Hansley.

Despite this incident, Hansley feels safe on campus. Campus Police are doing their part to make students aware.

“Reporting people they see that should not be on campus, making sure their own space is secure and they’re taking proper steps to keep that,” said Andy Leonard, the Belmont Abbey College Chief of Police during an earlier interview on September 5th.

As for the defendant, John Alexander, the district attorney said three other women have come forward with similar claims.

The DA didn’t provide details but added those claims are being investigated and no new charges have been filed.

Alexander is set to appear in court for a probable cause hearing on October 5th.

Related: Police: Man accused of trespassing at Belmont Abbey College turns himself in

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