Students question security after break-in, sex assault at Belmont Abbey College

A Belmont Abbey College student was sexually assaulted in her dorm room by a man police say has no relationship to the campus, and that intruder turned himself in on Tuesday.

Because of what happened, everyone at the school is thinking more about security, including a security gate still under construction. When it’s done, students should be able to swipe a pass key to get by.

That same process should have kept the intruder out of the dorms, but something went wrong.

Belont Abbey is a small private Christian college. It began as a sanctuary -- a place that, for many, has a sense of security.

UPDATE: Man accused of sexual assault, break-in at Belmont Abbey dorm turns himself in

“This campus is really safe,” said student Caden Brandenberg.

Many students told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon they feel so safe, they don’t usually lock their dorm room doors. That is, until now.

On Sunday morning, security cameras at St. Michael’s dorm captured a man in the hall. Police say he is John Alexander, and they said he’s accused of sexually assaulting a student in her dorm room.

Brandenberg said it’s unsettling.

“You are feeling safe. You are in your dorm room and some guy walks in and you have no idea who it is,” he said.

Brandenberg said the man still couldn’t go up the elevator to dorm rooms without a key card.

ALSO READ: 2 arrested in armed robbery, sexual battery investigation, CMPD says

“Someone must have had to let him up or something,” he said.

Other students told Channel 9 that the key card reader to the outside doors often doesn’t work. The police chief said the outside doors were locked on Sunday.

“The dorm did what it was supposed to do,” Chief Andy Leonard said.

This new ground for his department.

“We have never had this,” Leonard said.

The chief said Alexander is from Belmont but he has no link to the college.

“I have no idea why he picked Belmont Abbey College,” he said.

Off-duty police are now assigned to work the lobby of the dorm.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Channel 9 learned Alexander had turned himself in.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: Students say locks not working at Belmont Abbey dorm when unidentified man entered several rooms)