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Student is Arrested On Assault Charges

By Marie Y. Thibault

MIT graduate student Dong Zhang was arrested last month and charged with assault and battery of his ex-girlfriend, who is also a student at MIT. He faces three counts: assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and threat to commit a crime. Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony charge in Massachusetts, and if found guilty, Zhang could face a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

The incident is one of three on-campus aggravated assaults that occurred in 2005. Zhang declined to comment last week.

According to the Cambridge Police incident report, the victim had been in a relationship with Zhang for five years but had broken up with him over the phone in July. According to the report, the victim said that in early December, Zhang tried to renew the relationship, but she made it clear that she was not interested.

On Dec. 18, Zhang “acting nervous,” came to the victim’s office to pick up a personal belonging, the victim later told MIT Police, according to the report. He asked her who she was dating, but she told him that it was none of his business, the report said. The incident report states that Zhang then kicked the victim in the chest with his shod foot, and she fell off the chair to the floor. Zhang also threatened to kill the victim, according to the report.

After calming Zhang, the victim told him that she needed to go to MIT Medical because her chest hurt, the report states. He insisted on accompanying her, and she told the medical staff that she had been injured playing sports. But according to the report, she went back to MIT Medical the next day and told MIT Police Sergeant Jamie G. DiGregorio about the incident because she was afraid of what Zhang might do.

Besides the three aggravated assaults that occurred, 11 simple assaults were also reported last year, bringing the total number of on-campus assaults reported last year to 14 and marking a decrease from past years. In each of the three previous years, 21 on-campus assaults were reported, according to the Safety, Security, and Crime Prevention Handbook published by the MIT Police.

Zhang’s pre-trial hearing will take place on Jan. 27 at the Middlesex County Courthouse in Cambridge.