Man accused of sexual attack was BSU worker

Joseph F. Purcell
Joseph F. Purcell

A man arrested in June after police said he sexually attacked a woman in her bed was working at the time as a temporary grounds maintenance employee at nearby Boise State University.

Joseph F. Purcell, 35, is charged with felony forcible penetration with a foreign object and burglary.

The victim told Boise police she woke up early on June 12 to a man sexually assaulting her at a home on Manitou Avenue, near the BSU campus. A few days later, police released a sketch of the man. Purcell was arrested a day later.

Purcell had worked since late February as a temporary, full-time landscape technician. A Boise State job posting lists jobs duties as mowing, gardening, weeding, general landscaping and grounds maintenance. Purcell worked in that position part-time in from May to September 2012 and from May to June 2013.

Boise State spokesman Greg Hahn said Purcell’s most recent employment ended June 21, four days after he was arrested.

Hahn would not say whether the end of Purcell’s employment was connected to his arrest, saying “state law prevents me from giving specifics around the end of his employment.”

He said the university is continually focused on doing all it can to prevent sexual misconduct and other crimes on campus. He said incidents are thoroughly investigated and action is taken whenever misconduct takes place.

“The safety of Boise State students, faculty, staff and visitors is always a top priority for our campus,” Hahn said.

Purcell pleaded not guilty to both charges during a hearing last month in Ada County District Court. He is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 16.

Purcell was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2008 in a Boise case. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 150 days suspended. He was also ordered not to contact the victim in the case, a woman.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell