Chapel Hill man charged in rape appears in court, has lengthy NC criminal record

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The man charged with raping a woman in Chapel Hill last month appeared in court Tuesday where his bond remained at $500,000.

Vernon Reed was arrested Monday in connection with the September 13 sex assault off Rosemary Street.

The assault happened around 3 a.m. in the parking deck of Shortbread Lofts in the 300 block of Rosemary Street, police say.

Police along with K-9 units responded to the scene and began searching the area shortly after an assault on a woman was reported.

Police said Monday night they made an arrest in the “very difficult case.”

Vernon Reed (OCSO)

Reed, 46, of Chapel Hill is charged with first-degree forcible rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and kidnapping.

Tuesday, an Orange County judge kept Reed’s bond at $500,000.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office asked that his bond remain at that amount due to the violent nature of the crime and the fact that he has a violent criminal record out of state.

CBS 17 did some digging and found that he has a lengthy criminal record in North Carolina.

Reed was arrested back in 2016 in Johnston County for assaulting a female, but that charge was later dismissed.

Reed has also been arrested seven times in Wake County in the last five years. Records show he has been convicted of different crimes which include cruelty to animals, larceny, financial card theft, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

If Reed bonds out, he has been told to stay away from the Shortbread Lofts and the UNC campus where some students are still on edge.

Carol-Ann Smith, assistant director of financial operations for UNC SafeWalk, said the student-led program sends out students to walk people home if they live on campus or 2.5 miles outside of campus.

Smith said this year the number of students using this program has skyrocketed.

“Last year we were hitting about three walks a night and this year we’ve been hitting 12 to 14 every night,” Smith said.

Even though Reed has been arrested, Smith expects the number of people requesting a safe walk home will continue to remain high.

“There’s the component of feeling at ease, and everyone on this campus has the right to feel at ease when they are walking home,” Smith said.

UNC SafeWalk provides services Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

If you would like to request a walk home, contact UNC SafeWalk at 919-962-SAFE.

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