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Dartmouth won't let woman carry gun to protect against accused stalker

Dartmouth says no to San Diego student who wants to carry weapon for protection against accused stalker

A 20-year-old college student from San Diego has been rebuffed in her request to carry a concealed gun on campus for protection against a man facing criminal charges for stalking and menacing her.

Taylor Woolrich had asked officials at Dartmouth College, where she is a junior, for permission to carry the weapon for defense against possible attack by a 67-year-old man facing felony charges in San Diego County Superior Court.

Woolrich has a restraining order against Richard Bennett, who is set for a readiness hearing in court next week. Bennett, now in jail, faces charges of stalking, possession of a firearm while under a restraining order  and unlawfully obtaining personal information about Woolrich’s family.

Woolrich has a “reasonable fear” of Bennett, who has repeatedly followed and harassed her, according to court documents filed by the district attorney's office.

Woolrich, whose father is a San Diego police officer, spoke this week in Washington at an event sponsored by the national conference of Students for Concealed Carry.

She said that Bennett spotted her at a coffee shop where she was working in 2011 and began harassing her. Even when she went to college, he seemed to know when she was returning to San Diego to see her parents, she said.

“When I came home from school last summer, he was at my front door within eight hours of my plane landing,” she said, according to a story on Fox News. “That’s when I realized how serious it was.”

A police search of his car found a slip noose, knife, gloves and other things, she said.

Bennett, in a jailhouse interview, told KGTV in San Diego, “I am innocent as the day is long.”

Dartmouth, like many colleges, has a rule against allowing firearms on campus. A spokesman for the Ivy League college, located in Hanover, N.H., said that exceptions are not made but “we certainly do everything we possibly can to make all our students feel safe.”

Bennett remains in jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.

“Every morning I check the inmate [list] online to see if he has made bail,” Woolrich said in the Fox report. “I feel safe for now, but the day he gets out is the day I will have to leave Dartmouth.”

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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