20-year-old Hollister suspect arrested after assaulting Gavilan student


Officers from the Santa Clara County Sheriffs Department have arrested Sean Chris Woodard, a 20-year-old Hollister resident who allegedly assaulted an 18-year-old female student while she was traversing the main hiking trail Wednesday behind the campus, located at 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. in Gilroy. 

Sgt. Jose Cardoza with the Sheriff’s Department said the female victim claims to have been inappropriately touched by Woodard, who has been charged with sexual battery. Woodard’s hearing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 7.

The location of the hearing has not been solidified, but will likely take place in the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill, according to Cardoza. He said the female student did not require any medical attention. 

Gavilan College issued a campus-wide warning Wednesday following the report of assault, which occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. according to Ana Garcia, director of Security and Support Services for Gavilan. The victim and the suspect knew each other, according to Garcia. 

College spokeswoman Jan Bernstein-Chargin said Gavilan alerted students and community members using its Gav Alert System, which sends out important messages via text, voicemail and email. The college also placed warnings on its website and Facebook page.

“We always strongly encourage that all hikers walk in pairs or groups,” wrote Garcia. “Always use caution and be aware of your surroundings.”

Garcia asks that suspicious persons be reported to campus security immediately by dialing 10 from any campus extension, or dialing the emergency line directly at (408) 710-7490. 

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