Fourth attack in a week

Female student groped near Bender

A female student was grabbed by an unknown assailant last night in an apparent sexual attack in the garden adjacent to the amphitheater, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

The attack was the fourth such incident in the past week and is the sixth reported incidence of an unwanted sexual advance on campus this semester.

Public Safety announced the attack through a crime alert early this morning.

"A female resident student was walking up the stairs between the sports center and amphitheater when a male passing her reached out and grabbed her breast," the announcement read in part. The report listed the incident at 8:40 p.m.

She gave chase but lost track of her assailant behind Leonard Hall. She then returned to the fitness center where she called Public Safety.

More than five public safety officers responded within minutes and then notified MPD, a Jacobs Fitness Center attendant said.

MPD received the call at 8:43 p.m. and about six patrol cars responded. After searching the area, MPD officers took a misdemeanor sexual abuse report, said Officer Kelly Collins-McMurry, an MPD spokeswoman. Such a charge "usually means improper touching or groping," she said.

No arrests had been reported as of press time, but Public Safety and MPD have stepped up patrols in the area.

The gym attendant said the victim appeared "very upset" and was visibly shaken after the incident.

The crime report described the suspect as a white male, 5'8", with dark hair, wearing a blue baseball cap, jeans and a dark fleece jacket. He was carrying a broken umbrella.

Residence hall employees were told late that Wednesday the description of the suspect matches that of the man thought to be responsible for three similar incidents last Wednesday.

The first incident took place in the Asbury parking lot last Wednesday, while the other two occurred near the Butler Garden early last Thursday, Director of Public Safety Colleen Carson told The Eagle last week.

All incidents were classified as a grab-and-run style attack, Carson said.

Students are advised to walk in groups, use the shuttle service and avoid concealed and dark areas. Students should carry and keep their cell phones accessible and be aware of emergency Blue Lights. Public Safety's non-emergency extension for an escort, if students are uncomfortable walking on campus, is x2527.

Public Safety asks students report suspicious activity to Public Safety by calling the emergency extension, x3636.

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