Sexual assaults target women in Rutgers University community

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Monday, October 31, 2022
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A police investigation is underway after several women affiliated with Rutgers University were sexually assaulted. N.J. Burkett has the story.

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A police investigation is underway after several women affiliated with Rutgers University were sexually assaulted.

The most serious attacks took place over the weekend near the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick.

Police say a man broke into the same home on Central Avenue on two consecutive nights and sexually assaulted two different women as they slept.

The first attack happened at about 3 a.m. Saturday, the second between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Sunday.

Police believe the suspect got in through an unlocked window.

One of the victims described him as a 5'8" male with a tan complexion and wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt.

The New Brunswick Police Department is asking anyone with information about the case, or who may have been in the area at the time, to contact the NBPD's Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.

Students say what is most frightening is where and how the women were victimized.

"It's very scary, especially as, like, young women in this town who are living on their own, not with their parents anymore," Rutgers junior Brielle Jordan said. "So it was definitely it definitely shakes us."

Detectives returned to the neighborhood this morning to gather surveillance video, hoping to help identify a suspect. Mohammad Zadeh owns a coffee house on a nearby street.

"You have a violent crime, and somebody's child was violated," Zadeh said. "And, as a human being, it's anybody's responsibility to make sure that they help in any which way they can. I have the surveillance cameras and hopefully that's gonna help the police department catch this guy."

Authorities do not believe those assaults are related to a third incident that happened on campus at the College Avenue Student Center Sunday afternoon.

It happened at about 5:15 p.m.

The victim told police a man started talking to her, dropped something in her lap then touched her inappropriately.

The woman was not physically injured.

The suspect in that case was described as a Black male, 6 feet tall, approximately 180 lbs., in his late twenties or early thirties wearing a black baseball cap, sunglasses and dark clothing with a blue vest.

Rutgers University Police have stepped up patrols both on and off campus in the wake of all three incidents.

According to the university, 37 sex crimes were reported on and off campus in 2019. In the pandemic year, there were 12. There were 26 last year and 12 so far for the fall semester, including the latest crimes this past weekend.

The vast majority of sex crimes at Rutgers allegedly took place on campus.

"It was really scary to see. I'm definitely, I live in a first floor apartment around the corner from here so I'm gonna keep my doors and windows locked, for sure," Rutgers junior Ashley Fromer said.

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