Chester Springs native one of four students attacked with acid in France

Courtney Siverling

Among the four Boston College students attacked with acid in France on Sunday is a Chester County native who is asking for prayers for their attacker.

Boston College said that four of its students were treated for burns in a hospital in Marseille, France, after having been sprayed in the face with acid outside of the Marseille-Saint Charles train station early Sunday morning. They have since been released and police arrested their alleged attacker.

“It appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances, though they may require additional treatment for burns,” Nick Gozik, who directs Boston College’s Office of International Programs, said in a statement. “We have been in contact with the students and their parents and remain in touch with French officials and the U.S. Embassy regarding the incident.”

The university identified the students, all juniors, as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, and Michelle Krug, who are enrolled in Boston College’s Paris program, and Kesley Korsten, who is a student at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.

“Our thoughts are with their families, who have understandably been very anxious about their daughters,” Gozik said when reached for comment. “We are very grateful for the outpouring of support that we have received from many, both in the U.S. and France.”

A spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press that two of the victims were injured in the face in the attack in the Saint Charles train station. The spokeswoman also told the AP that two students were hospitalized for shock and were not physically injured.

Siverling, of Chester Springs, posted on Facebook that she had not been injured. She praised the French police and the U.S. Consulate for helping, and prayed for her attacker.

“I pray that the attacker would be healed from her mental illness in the name of Jesus and receive the forgiveness and salvation that can only come from Him,” Siverling, a Christian, posted on Facebook.

According to the university, police arrested a 41-year old French woman whom they described as “disturbed.” Police do not believe that the incident was related to terrorism.

Krug posted on Facebook that the acid had gotten into her eye and also hit one of her friends in the eye, but they both expected a quick recovery. She said on social media that a woman suffering from a mental illness “threw a weak solution of hydrochloric acid at us from a water bottle.” She also asked for prayers that their attacker would receive the help that she “needs and deserves.”

“Mental illness is not a choice and should not be villainized,” Krug posted.

University officials said the students informed them that they plan to remain in Europe for their studies, and offered forgiveness to their attacker.

“We are very proud of our students and the gracious manner in which they have handled themselves throughout this ordeal,” Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said in a statement on Monday.

Visit Daily Local News staff writer Ginger Rae Dunbar’s blog about journalism and volunteering as a firefighter at FirefighterGinger.blogspot.com.

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