Sexual harassment becomes an issue on BYU campus

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QUAD
University Police have responded to multiple reports of groping on campus this year, though they have not yet caught the perpetrator. (Photo courtesy BYU photographer)

BYU campus has been the scene of multiple sex offenses this year, according to University Police.

Although sex offenses are not a common occurrence on campus, said Lt. Chris Autry of the University Police Department, officers have responded to four incidents of groping since the beginning of January.

Each of the female victims described their offender as a white male in his early 20s. In each case, the male was moving toward the female when he reached out and grabbed her or reached around after he had passed her. Each incident happened after 5 p.m. Most times, the female was alone.

However, police still are not sure whether the cases are related.

“There’s nothing from clothing, description or location that leads us to believe it’s the same person,” Autry said. He said they have not received a clear enough description of the offenders to be close to identifying them.

“When someone is surprised, it’s difficult to pay attention to that,” he said.

BELL TOWER
The most recent report of groping on campus happened near the Bell Tower after dark. (Photo courtesy BYU photographer)

He gave advice on how to avoid this situation, and what to do if the situation should happen.

“We ask people to be aware of their surroundings, to pay attention to people as much as they can,” he said. “If they are going for a run, take someone with them.”

He also stressed the importance of calling 911 immediately so the police have a better chance of catching the offender. There are emergency phones with blue lights all over campus and nearly every building has an office with an available phone.

“I commend the girls for reporting,” he said. “If people can help remember details that would help.”

Autry advises taking precautions to avoid this situation altogether. But if it does happen to you, or you witness it happening to someone else, call 911 immediately.

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