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USU police seek groping suspect

First Published      Last Updated Jul 30 2014 11:03 pm

Utah State University police are seeking a man suspected of groping a female student as she exercised on campus Saturday.

The victim told police she was preparing to run up and down the Old Main Hill stairs at about 9:15 p.m. when she was approached by a man in a dirty, sweat-stained T-shirt who had been pacing nearby, said Utah State University police Sgt. Jessica Vahsholtz.

The stranger tried to make small talk, but when the student told him she was going to keep running, he grabbed her and tried kissing her. When she turned away, he placed his hands up her shirt, but she was able to escape, Vahsholtz said.

"She basically fought him off," Vahsholtz said. "She pushed him away and ran away from him."

As she fled her alleged attacker, the victim encountered another individual who walked her home. The other individual also saw the suspect, Vahsholtz said.

The suspect, who is not believed to be among the university's more than 27,000 students, is described as a 5-foot-7-inch man in his 30s with brown hair, a mustache and a shaggy beard. He may also have a speech impediment, Vahsholtz said.

Vahsholtz urged anyone with information about the attack to call university police at 435-797-1939. Tipsters may remain anonymous if they wish, she added.

While noting that such on-campus assaults are rare, Vahsholtz advised students to travel in groups at night.

"If you go out for a jog at night, the best thing to do is to go in numbers," she said. "If you're going to go alone, you need to let somebody know where you're going, the route you're taking, and when you expect to be back to keep yourself safe."

"But," she added, "definitely in numbers would be better."


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