Elizabeth Sharp | Staff Writer
During the second week of classes, registered sex offender Jonathan Caito caused a disruption among Duquesne students as he approached multiple female students near an off-campus residence
Caito had been staked out near the City View Apartments along Washington Pl. when he encountered students. He targeted multiple people and asked them for personal information, as well as following them up and down this street.
Caito has never worked, studied or taught at Duquesne.
Duquesne senior and City View resident Heather Umbel had a run-in with Caito on Sunday, Aug. 30 as she was leaving the building. She encountered him near PPG Paints Arena around 1:30 p.m. on her way to meet a friend near Duquesne’s campus.
Umbel detailed the exact situation before Caito approached her.
“He was talking to a couple walking up the hill and then seemed to notice me walking and left them,” Umbel said.
She explained that he was asking seemingly normal questions and making small talk, such as asking for the time. Despite not knowing Umbel, Caito continued to follow her the entire way down the hill.
Umbel noted that he “kept his distance” but also felt that “there was really no escape” while Caito was walking in her general vicinity. He then went on to insist that Umbel take his email address and asked her if she had been on any dates recently.
Caito also mentioned how he wanted to get coffee with her even though he had just approached her on the street, and the two did not know each other.
Umbel noted that he went on to say, “I do not like coffee but I’ll get coffee with you, and don’t worry, I am not going to touch you.” Umbel was then able to leave.
She later found out that he was a registered sex offender through an email from Duquesne Public Safety.
Because of her interaction with Caito, Umbel found herself driving to work on campus instead of walking and happened to see him again along the same street from the safe- ty of her vehicle.
Umbel noted that there have been no significant changes in Duquesne Police presence around the apartment complex, but she feels that “they are taking the situation seriously” and knows “they have contacted him to warn him against bothering other students.”
There have been other students in addition to Umbel who have been harassed by Caito but are choosing not to speak out for their own safety.
“I am worried about future encounters, but I am really glad the Duquesne Police are really looking into this,” Umbel said.
In the schoolwide email sent on Sept. 1, Assistant Chief Michael Sippey explained this is not the first incident involving Caito.
“In November 2019, Caito approached a female student on campus, where he again asked for personal information and began to touch her, including on her thigh, without consent,” the email stated.
“He is a Megan’s Law sex offend- er, having been convicted of Indecent Assault on 01/09/2017 and is required to register as a sex offender for 15 years,” the email continued. Megan’s Law requires law enforce- ment authorities to make informa-
tion available to the public regard- ing sex offenders.
For these reasons, Caito was banned from Duquesne’s campus back in 2016 and has since been banned from the campus perma- nently.
Sippey also included safety tips in the email including the following to be used if encountering a similar situation.
The following was provided in re- gards to what to do if encountering Caito on campus: “DUPD will provide a safety escort at any time on the campus property. Dial 412-396- 6002 to request an escort,” Sippey said. “Place the emergency contact for the police into your cellphone — DUPD 412-396-2677 while on cam- pus, and 911 while in the surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Never hesitate to call DUPD.”