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15 women report being groped on or near BYU

Published March 19, 2014 4:17 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two more women were groped Wednesday at Brigham Young University, and another victim reported being fondled earlier this month, in what police are investigating as a serial sex assault case.

In total, 15 women have reported similar assaults on and near campus in less than two months, said BYU police Lt. Arnold Lemmon.

One of the gropings was captured by a security camera about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at Heritage Halls. The victim can be seen descending a flight of stairs and stopping on the sidewalk, where a man in a gray sweatshirt and black pants walks past her and grabs her breast.

"He doesn't even break stride," Lemmon said.

Two hours later, another woman was jogging in a parking lot east of the football stadium when she ran past a man who grabbed her breast, Lemmon said.

"He's definitely getting more active," Lemmon said.

In most of the cases, the women have been walking alone when a man grabbed at them, said Lemmon.

In some cases, the man was standing still and groped the women as they walked past; in others, he reached out as he was walking or jogging past them.

However, early Tuesday one student reported that a man walked into her apartment and intercepted her in the hallway when she came out of her bedroom to investigate a noise, Lemmon said.

The student was awakened about 3 a.m. by the sound of someone opening her door, Lemmon said. A man wearing a black jacket with the hood pulled over his head fondled her; he ran away when the woman's roommate responded to her screaming.

In addition to Wednesday's attacks, gropings have occurred at Helaman Halls, off-campus in Provo, and one just outside of the campus police office, Lemmon said. The first was reported Jan. 23. They have occurred as early as 5:20 p.m. and as late as 3 a.m.

The women's descriptions of the assailant vary, but are similar enough that they may be referring to the same person, Lemmon said.

In all cases, the attacker was white, in his early 20s and about 150 pounds. His height has been estimated from 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet.

None of the victims reported facial hair on the attacker, and his hair color isn't known, Lemmon said.

Among the clothing reported by victims was a royal blue beanie, a gray sweatshirt, black gloves, a black beanie, white shoes, neon green and orange running shoes, and sunglasses.

ealberty@sltrib.com