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Victims of a criminal known as the Center City rapist -- who is believed to have murdered Wharton doctoral student Shannon Schieber in 1998 --are feeling emotions ranging from relief to anger, following the arrest of a suspect late last month.

On April 23, police in Fort Collins, Colo. arrested 29-year-old Troy Graves in connection with a series of six sexual assaults that had occurred near the Colorado State University campus over the past year.

The circumstances surrounding both the Fort Collins and Philadelphia assaults and the Schieber murder were similar, with the assailant entering a victim's apartment through an unlocked door or window during the early morning hours and then sexually assaulting the resident. All of the victims in each case were college-aged women.

Graves also resembles composite sketches of the rapist that were taken from victim descriptions of the attacker.

In September of 2001, Fort Collins police matched DNA from their crime scenes with samples collected from sexual assaults in Philadelphia that had already been tied to the Center City rapist, who was also believed to be responsible for Schieber's murder.

Although both police and legal officials have been put under a gag order regarding details of the case, it has been reported that DNA samples taken from Graves matched the samples already collected in both states.

Graves' arrest hit especially close to Penn for many, and not solely because he is accused of murdering a student. For a time, Graves lived in an apartment at 41st Street and Baltimore Avenue -- very close to campus and off-campus student housing.

Sylvester Schieber, Shannon Schieber's father, is very confident that police have arrested the right man. "The DNA proves it," he said.

Three days after his arrest, Graves was charged by the district attorney in Fort Collins with 27 counts ranging from robbery to kidnapping to sexual assault.

That same day, Graves heard the list of charges that have been filed against him by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. There are 50 counts against Graves in Philadelphia, including charges of murder, burglary, aggravated assault and rape.

Graves could face the death penalty in Philadelphia, but no decision has been made as to whether or not capital punishment will be sought, according to the District Attorney's office. The Schiebers have publicly proclaimed that they are opposed to the death penalty.

There has also been no decision on where Graves will be tried first. While the process of extraditing Graves to Pennsylvania has begun, the governor of Colorado has the final say about where he will be tried.

Sylvester Schieber, who filed a lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia in October 1998 claiming that police left his daughter's Rittenhouse Square apartment while she was still alive and her attacker was still in the room, has been a vocal critic of Philadelphia's police and legal system.

"I think the police department in Fort Collins, from the beginning of the attacks, comported themselves in an extremely professional manner, which should be an embarrassment to Philadelphia," he said.

Since Schieber's murder in May 1998, and after five women who all lived in the same area of the city as Shannon were sexually assaulted, serious negligence was uncovered in the police department's procedures of reporting and handling special victims and sex crimes.

Penn Women's Center Director Elena DiLapi said that exposing that corruption was the one positive thing to come out of Schieber's murder.

"Our larger concern... was that Shannon Schieber's murder and the rape cases really highlighted the practices within the sex crimes unit and the problems with the way Philadelphia Police were hearing about sex crimes, miscoding them and hiding the number of rape cases," DiLapi said.

Sylvester Schieber claims that no one in Philadelphia and few people at Penn are holding police accountable for their mistakes.

Penn "won't clean it up, and someone needs to demand that they clean it up," he said. "Either that or your parents ought to quit sending you there. I would quit sending my daughter there, but she's dead."

And while DiLapi says that it's wonderful if there is one fewer rapist and murderer on the streets, the victims of the series of crimes could be experiencing a number of emotions at this time.

"All the survivors are feeling a whole range of feelings, from excited to relieved that their rapist was caught, that he's not still lingering," she said.

But DiLapi added that the arrest could also bring back feelings of terror and trauma that victims have worked sometimes for years to overcome.

"This could reawaken some of those feelings, and remind them that this is still not over," she said.

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