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Suspect arrested in sexual assault case; safety guidelines stressed

August 9, 2010

[Updated at 4:02 p.m., Aug. 9, 2010]

A suspect has been detained in an early morning sexual assault that occurred in the downtown area.

One victim has positively identified the suspect as the person who assaulted her. Police said he is a white male in his early 20s from Portage, Wis.

The UW–Madison Police Department and the city of Madison Police Department are working jointly on investigating a string of similar sexual assaults that occurred in the downtown area in the early morning and daytime hours of Monday, Aug. 9, 2010.

At least nine cases have been reported and investigators believe other women may have been assaulted. The reported assaults involved groping, police said.

Authorities are asking anyone who may have been assaulted to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 266-6014.

Around 10 a.m. Monday, a Madison police officer was driving on Breese Terrace in front of Camp Randall when he spotted a person matching the suspect description.

When the officer pulled into a driveway to attempt to contact the suspect, the subject started running away behind some houses.

The officer asked a citizen walking by to run after the suspect, and after doing so the suspect ran back out onto the street where the officer was able to take him into custody. The suspect is being questioned by detectives from both agencies.

Several of the women in these cases acted as law enforcement would advise by fighting back and screaming for help.

Police say the incidents highlight a continued need for attention to personal safety.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Walk in groups or with at least one other friend whenever possible.
  • Take advantage of UW–Madison SAFEwalk and SAFEride programs available on and around campus. Call (608) 262-5000 for detailed information.
  • Carry a cell phone and dial 911 for help.
  • Be aware of places along your path of travel that could conceal a criminal (shrubbery, building recesses, etc.). Avoid or keep a distance from these areas whenever possible.
  • If you intend to drink, do so in moderation to avoid placing yourself in a position of increased risk.
  • Make sure someone knows when you leave and when to expect you back.
  • If you think someone is following you, cross the street. Head for a well-populated and well-lit area at night.