Lurking poet arrested in Snell

Like many patrons, William Barlow claimed his business at Snell Library was purely literary. He wanted someone to share his poetry with, get to know and, in at least one instance, to be his muse, according to Northeastern Police Department (NUPD) reports.

But as it turns out, Barlow had other plans.

Police arrested Barlow, 34, of 444 Harrison Avenue last week for trespassing in the library, ending a string of at least four incidents of female students reporting virtually identical instances of harassing behavior beginning last spring.

“He’s done it a number of times to people at places other than the Northeastern campus,” said Associate Director of Public Safety Jim Ferrier.

Along with a penchant for verse, Barlow apparently had a knack for remembering the women he was interested in. Middler economics major Linda Sun said she encountered a man who matched the behavior described on four occasions over the past six months.

“I feel like he recognize me and comes up to me because he knows who I am,” Sun said.

One time, she said she felt the man grabbing her butt while walking near the Prudential Center.

He identified himself as Crispus, and gave her information about his MySpace page. The page, which shows a 34-year-old man named Crispus who looks similar to Barlow, says he writes greeting cards that will be at a store in South Orange, N.J.

“I want to live in Japan one day, teach poetry and live long,” it says.

A review of Northeastern Crime Log reports indicate that Barlow’s stories and actions became more elaborate with each incident.

On July 17, he approached a student in the library and told her he wanted to read her his poetry in a room where they could be alone, and that he wanted to write about her.

Another incident, reported July 23, was more cursory.

The female student reported that Barlow had followed her to her off-campus job in Copley Square.

No sign of Barlow was reported again until two weeks ago, when he was said to have harassed a woman in Krentzman Quad. The woman contacted NUPD last Wednesday after reading about the incident in the Northeastern Crime Log, Ferrier said.

Police reports indicate he kissed a woman on the cheek last Friday, telling library staff who noticed the behavior that he was trying to get to know her, and, once again, attempting to show her his poetry.

Barlow was arraigned Monday at Roxbury District Court. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing at the same venue Oct. 18.

On that day, Ferrier said NUPD would bring an additional charge of assault and battery against him for the Monday incident, and the incident two weeks ago.

His mug shot revealed Barlow to be a bald, black man. Ferrier said his looks did not set him apart from other patrons.

“He looks like a million other people,” Ferrier said.

Incidents similar to those perpetrated by Barlow have been rare over the past four years, said Dean of University Libraries Edward Warro.

“Ever since we started checking IDs at the door [about four years ago], the number of incidents has diminished,” Warro said.

Ferrier said any similar incidents in the future should be reported to NUPD.

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