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Three sexual assaults investigated over Labor Day weekend

By Austen Hufford, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 4, 2012

Three separate sexual assault incidents were reported on or near campus this past weekend, all with a similarly described suspect.

University Police say it’s currently “unknown” whether the alleged crimes are related.

A student told DPS that last Friday an unknown male approached her while at the University’s Museum of Natural History between 5 and 6 p.m.

After following the student around, the man spoke to her both in Chinese and limited English with a heavy Chinese accent, according to police. The suspect proceeded to rub her elbow and grab her buttocks. He is described as a 5’7” Asian man with short hair, clean appearance and an average build.

A second sexual assault occurred on Saturday at the watch party at Michigan Stadium for the Michigan v. Alabama football game. During this incident, a student reported that an unknown male, who appeared very inebriated, grabbed her chest and legs.

The suspect in Saturday’s case is described as a 5’6” light-skinned Asian male with broad shoulders, weighing about 180 pounds with a stocky muscular build, black hair in a grown-out “buzz cut,” with a clean-shaven face. The victim of the assault also reported him as having a high-pitched voice, and he was reportedly wearing a baseball hat, blue sunglasses and light pink shorts.

Both students notified DPS of the assaults after receiving the campus-wide crime alert sent out about an incident that occurred Monday morning, in which a student reported that she was grabbed from behind near Washtenaw Avenue and Hill Street. In Monday’s case, the suspect grabbed the student’s chest and crotch.

Monday’s suspect ran away on foot after the student screamed. The suspect in that incident was described as an Asian male wearing a baseball cap, who appeared to be about 20 years old.

All three incidents are classified as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which involves an instance of sexual assault that does not include penetration.

A campus-wide crime alert was only sent out for Monday’s incident. DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said by the time the other two assaults were reported to the police, too much time had lapsed since the alleged crimes. The other two incidents were posted to DPS’s website Tuesday morning.

Brown added that DPS and the Ann Arbor Police Department have an increased presence on and near campus during the first weeks of the school year because more students are active then.

Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, said students should contact someone if they feel violated.

“We want students to reach out whenever they experience conduct that doesn’t feel right to them,” Rider-Milkovich said. “They may not choose to label it as sexual assault, but they may feel ‘what happened to me just didn’t feel right.’”

Rider-Milkovich noted that sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes.

“As the rate of reports rises, that doesn’t necessarily reflect that we have an increase in the number of incidents, just the number of those reporting,” Rider-Milkovich said.

SAPAC visits are confidential, and the center offers services to students who have been victims of any type of sexual assault.

“Once a student connects with SAPAC, we continue to provide support for the entire time a student is at the University,” Rider-Milkovich said.

SAPAC is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the Michigan Union. It also offers a 24-hour crisis line at (734) 936-3333.

Correction appended: A previous headline of this article incorrectly stated the investigating agencies in the assaults.

Clarification: A previous version of this article did not make clear the date the assault at the Museum of Natural History was reported.