State Attorney Matthew Gedansky honored three University of Connecticut police officers Thursday (June 2) for their involvement in the investigation and subsequent arrest of a Vernon man convicted in connection with a sexual assault on the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus.
Sgt. Daniel Gugliotti, Officer Peter Harris and Officer Justin Gilbert were honored as “Officers of the Year” by Gedansky during a ceremony in Rockville Superior Court.
The officers were heavily involved in the investigation of a sexual assault case that led to the arrest of Robert O. Morgan, 26, of Vernon, who was sentenced Dec. 3, 2010 to 41 years in prison with five years of special parole and lifetime sex offender registration.
Morgan, a former Federal Express driver, was accused of raping a UConn senior on September 2008 on a path between Alumni Drive and Hilltop Apartments and of trying to rape a woman sitting in a field off Horsebarn Hill Road in June 2009.
He was linked to the assaults by his DNA, found on the shirt of a woman who was raped in 2008 and on a T-shirt near the site of the 2009 attack.
For the 2008 rape, a jury in September found Morgan guilty of aggravated first-degree sexual assault, first-degree kidnapping with a firearm and second-degree threatening.
Morgan was also convicted of attempted aggravated first-degree sexual assault, attempted first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, third-degree assault and third-degree criminal mischief for the 2009 attempted rape.
The honor is awarded in each Connecticut county by a state attorney to an individual or multiple officers for their work on the police force.
Gedansky presented the honor to Gugliotti, Harris and Gilbert because he is the state’s attorney for Tolland County, where the main UConn campus is located.
UConn Police Major Ronald Blicher said the “work done by these officers stood out” among other officers in Tolland County and involved a level of expertise of the officers during an “intensive” investigation.
The investigation, he said, required a “great deal” of paperwork, including paperwork for the court.
The three officers combined have nearly 20 years of experience at UConn, he said.
Sgt. Daniel Gugliotti has been with the department for nine years. Harris has been with the department for six years and Gilbert has been in the department for four.
“It’s a great honor for them,” Blicher said.
A female victim reported that she was forced into a wooded area and sexually assaulted by a male during the 2008 attack, police said. According to police, the male threatened her with a handgun before fleeing the area.
While the first attack was still being investigated, UConn police received a report in June 2009 of a rape attempt.
During that incident, a female victim was approached in an agricultural field off Horsebarn Hill Road by a male attacker who threatened her with a handgun, police said.
Police said the victim fought the attacker and she was able to escape. The man then fled the scene. UConn has numerous safety measures on campus to ensure the safety of its students. This includes Blue Lights, alert lights on campus, and the HuskyWatch Escort service.
Husky Watch operates seven days a week from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The Storrs campus also has a service similar to Husky Watch, “Guard Dogs.” It is run by a student organization on campus and is funded primarily by the Undergraduate Student Government.
Gedansky could not be reached for comment in his office Friday.
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