Police warn Texas State students to be on alert after sexual assault arrest

San Marcos police believe man accused of sexual assault has other victims

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Sarah Acosta - Reporter

SAN MARCOS, Texas - Authorities in San Marcos believe a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman on Feb. 21 may have other victims.

San Marcos police arrested John Tate McFarland, 35, on Thursday. McFarland was charged after a woman called police around 6 a.m. on Feb. 21 saying her daughter had contacted her from a number she did not recognize asking for help.

Police were unable to locate the woman's daughter for approximately an hour, until she sent a Facebook message to a friend asking for help. The woman's daughter was eventually found at her home.

The victim told police she had been downtown and left with McFarland, but could only remember having sex with him, police said. When she asked McFarland if she could leave, he first refused to let her go, but eventually drove her home, according to authorities.

McFarland was arrested in the 100 block of North LBJ Drive and charged with sexual assault, records show. He was released from jail Friday on a $50,000 bail. 

Police said Tuesday that they believe McFarland may have other victims from the San Marcos and Austin areas.

KSAT 12 spoke with the Texas State University police department about student safety when it comes to going out downtown off campus.

Sgt. Chris Cost said it's a good idea for people to use the buddy system when going out.

“Take somebody with you," Cost said “Make sure you are in a safe group when going downtown to the square, when frequenting the bars and absolutely before you leave. Leave with the person you went with.”

He said to never let anyone you don’t know buy you drinks.

“If you need to use the restroom or facilities, make sure you take your drink with you or a close friend watches your drink, not somebody you just met that evening,” Cost said.

The San Marcos Police Department is encouraging any other victims to come forward if they were assaulted by McFarland.

According to Hays County court records, McFarland was charged with indecent exposure in 2016.

Those with information about the current case are asked to call Detective Sandra Spriegel at 512-753-2369 or email her at sspriegel@sanmarcostx.gov

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