By Steven Viera,
Karlie Hall, an 18-year old student at Millersville University, was murdered by her boyfriend last Sunday, Feb. 8, in her dorm room. Hall’s murder represents an incident of dating and domestic violence, which puts a person at risk of physical harm. At F&M, resources are available to the campus community to identify and address dating and domestic violence.
Gregorio Orrostieta, Hall’s boyfriend of about one year, is currently being held without bail at Lancaster County Prison on charges of criminal homicide and aggravated assault. According to the article “Millersville University mourns after first homicide in campus history” published by Lancaster Online, Orrostieta is not a student at Millersville.
A police affidavit released to the press said Orrostieta and Hall attended a party the night of the murder and got into a fight — with Hall slapping Orrostieta across the face — before making up and returning to Hall’s room around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. However, neighboring students reported hearing a disturbance at approximately 2:30 a.m.; Orrostieta, in fact, admitted that a fight broke out between the pair again and that he threw Hall to the ground and slapped her.
Police were called at 5:00 a.m. and found Hall’s body. The affidavit noted that Orrostieta, who was wearing bloody clothes, was attempting to perform CPR.
“We can only speculate as to what he was doing and what he was thinking,” said Craig Stedman, Lancaster County district attorney, in the article published by Lancaster Online. “The thing we are clear about is that he’s responsible and we’re going to hold him accountable.”
According to Jan Masland, Title IX coordinator for the College, Hall’s murder is an example of dating and domestic violence, which is the use of violence between persons in a romantic relationship.
“The dangers of [dating and domestic] violence that differ from stranger violence are that the victim knows the assailant and trusts them,” she said. “Because of the romantic relationship, the victim is reluctant to believe that their partner could, or would, harm them. There is also an uneven power dynamic within the relationship that makes the victim particularly vulnerable. Perpetrators in these types of violence are often master manipulators.”
Explaining ways to identify signs, Masland pointed out that this type of violence is not gender-exclusive or gender-specific.
“Abusers of any gender identity externalize the causes of their behavior by casting blame on outside circumstances: stress, a bad day, their partner’s behavior — ‘She/he just doesn’t listen to me, she/he deserved it,’” she continued. “Abusers may be charming, outgoing and friendly between violent episodes but those close to the victim may observe that the abuser can be extremely jealous, possessive, controlling, ill tempered, unpredictable, and verbally
In response to Hall’s murder, F&M’s Committee on Sexual Misconduct is reconstructing the College website’s section on sexual misconduct to include information about dating and domestic violence, including resources to identify it and seek help.
Additionally, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the Peer Health Educators will have a table in the dining hall with information about healthy relationships and dating violence, and Title IX Office has engaged the YWCA Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center to come to campus this spring to present an interactive program, Healthy Relationships, which will address the issue of dating and domestic violence.
Students wishing to report or seek assistance for an incident of dating and domestic violence can reach out to the Department of Public Safety at 717-291-3939. Confidential help is also available through the Sexual Assault Response Line (SARL) at 717-560-7311, Appel Health Services at 717-291-4082, Counseling Services at 717-291-4083, or Dr. Susan Minasian, College Chaplain, at 717-358-5814.
To file a complaint with the College, contact Masland, at 717-358-7178.
Junior Steven Viera is the Managing Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.