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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

String of assaults puts Cornell on alert

A string of three reported assaults Sunday morning has led to a crime alert on the Cornell University campus and investigations by the Cornell University Police Department and the Ithaca Police Department.

According to police reports, three separate reports were made near Cornell early Sunday morning. The first incident occurred at about 2 a.m., at the east end of South Avenue. A female student reported that a male put his arm around her waist and aggressively pulled her shirt. The subject allegedly fled after other students in the area intervened. No description of the attacker is available.

The second incident was reported to have occurred at a College Avenue residence at around 3:15 a.m. A woman reported that a male subject forced his way into the residence and struggled with her, putting his arm around her and reaching under her dress. The victim reported being able to push the attacker out of the residence. The victim described the attacker as a dark-skinned or Hispanic-white male, 5-feet-9 to 6-feet tall, according to the press release.

The third incident was a rape reported at 3:45 a.m on the 800 block of University Avenue near the suspension bridge, according to a police report. The female student reported being forced by an unknown male to have sexual intercourse. The victim described the attacker as a dark-skinned or Hispanic-white male, 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a white long-sleeve, button-down shirt and plaid knee-length shorts.” The third victim described a noticeable mole on the attacker’s cheek.

The Cornell police said it is unknown at this time whether the incidents were related.

Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services, and Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources and safety services at Cornell, said in a joint  press release that the victims are receiving assistance from university staff.

“All of us at Cornell condemn, in the strongest terms, any action that threatens the safety of any member of our community,” according to release..

The Ithaca Police Department and the Cornell University police are investigating the incidents and are asking to interview any witnesses or people with related information. They are also increasing staffing for walking escorts and investigations, according to their press release.

Because of the increased level of criminal activity, Cornell University Police are urging members of the Cornell community to make additional safety precautions, including locking doors and windows at all times, and using alternative methods of transportation such as blue light escorts, blue light buses and taxis.

Anyone with information should contact Cornell University Police at (607) 255-1111 or the Ithaca Police Department at (607) 272-9973.