A female BYU student was sexually assaulted in her apartment last night, according to BYU Police.
The woman woke to the sound of the front door opening around 3 a.m. in her Wyview apartment. She thought it might be a friend, so she stepped out of her bedroom into the hallway.
She found a man standing in her living room wearing a black jacket with a hood, and something black covering the lower half of his face.
He instantly grabbed her and sexually fondled her. She screamed and called to her roommate, who woke up and came into the living room. The man instantly fled.
The women described the man as a male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, medium build, who spoke with an accent and broken English. There was some verbal exchange between the victim and the perpetrator, but police have not released what was said. Initial reports listed the suspect as a white male. However, police have since said the race was never mentioned.
“At this point in time we have no leads whatsoever,” said Lt. Arnold Lemmon of the BYU Police.
Lemmon said neither of the women had ever seen the man before.
“It doesn’t appear to be an intent to steal property,” he said. “The intent appears to be sexually motivated.”
This incident happened during a time of an influx of reports of sexual offenses on campus. There have been seven reported incidents of groping on or around BYU campus since Jan. 1, something Lemmon said is uncommon.
“It’s pretty rare, but that doesn’t mean anything if you’re the victim,” he said. “It’s hard to measure because the reporting ration is fairly low.”
Police are still investigating whether the groping incidents are related, but there seems to be a pattern.
“All of those incidents are very similar in behavior, targets and descriptions,” Lemmon said.
Most of the time, the incident happens at night, with the woman walking or running alone. The suspect is often jogging by, wearing either running clothes or a hoodie.
The typical description of this perpetrator is a white male, early 20s, 150 pounds and anywhere from 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 11 inches.
“This one doesn’t quite match the description of the other perpetrator (from last night’s incident), Lemmon said. “But that doesn’t mean we’ve ruled it out.”
The most recent groping incident happened on Mar. 15 around 7 p.m. at Heritage Halls. The victim was walking with a friend when a man jogged past them and groped one of them.
He was described as a white male wearing a white tank top, neon green and orange running shorts and sunglasses.
“The victim was walking with a female friend, so that kind of indicates (the perpetrator) is getting a little more bold,” Lemmon said. “Now we have a victim and a witness.”
Lemmon advises girls to always have someone with them when they go running or walking, especially at night. However, he said the best form of defense is awareness.
“Just be aware of your environment,” he said. “Use your street smarts; just be safe.”
He urged any other victims of sexual offenses to report to the police.
“The more information we can get, the higher the probability is that we can identify who is doing this,” he said.
If anyone has information on any of these cases or other incidences of sexual offense, call University Police at (801) 422-2222.