Crime

Man pleads guilty to Penn State dorm room burglaries

Zhongyuan Shao
Zhongyuan Shao Mugshot

Two days before he was scheduled to go on trial, a man accused of unlawfully entering the dorm rooms of sleeping female Penn State students pleaded guilty to several charges Tuesday.

Zhongyuan Shao, 19, a Chinese national, pleaded guilty to burglary, criminal trespass and indecent assault stemming from a string of incidents last fall. Penn State police received reports from several women that a man later identified as Shao entered or attempted to enter their rooms while they slept during the early morning hours of Oct. 11 and 12, according to court documents.

Two students living in the dorms and a juvenile on campus visiting her sister reported that they awoke to Shao touching them inappropriately, police said.

One of the women told police that Shao, who was a Penn State student at the time, also walked into her room uninvited in September and left when she questioned him, police said.

Lance Marshall, Shao’s attorney, declined to comment. Sentencing will be scheduled after an assessment to determine if Shao qualifies as a sexually violent predator, according to a press release from the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes, and for students, their homes away from home, without the fear of being violated by a stranger as they sleep in the night,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in a statement. “We are pleased the defendant admitted his guilt and will seek accountability in his sentence.”

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