Police investigate reported sexual assault on Bloomington trail

Police say there was an attempted sexual assault along a popular exercise trail in Bloomington.

The assault reportedly happened on the B-Line trail around 7:30 a.m. Monday. It follows a string of robberies on the same trail in recent weeks.

"That's an outrage. People should feel safe," said Bloomington resident Jev Jeffries.

The trail is a great place for people to bike, walk and run, or even use the trail as a mode of transportation. It is known as a safe place in Bloomington, but what's happened over the past few weeks has rattled a lot of nerves.

Monday's reported attack took place on the southern end of the trail, near pole #22. A 19-year-old woman was running when a man approached her wearing a mask and gloves. According to police, the man attempted to sexually assault the woman, but she was able to get away.

"It's unfortunate. It doesn't happen just here, it happens anywhere around the country or around the world," said Bloomington resident Sarah Ryterband.

Ryterband often rides her bicycle on the B-Line and says, if anything, an attack will only make her ride more.

"I'm not surprised. It's not going to stop me from doing the things I've always done," she said. "If we're all out here and we're all watching and we're all taking care of one another, which is why we have community and why we have one another, the safer we're all going to be."

Since the reported attack Monday, police have said that people need to be aware of what's going on on the B-Line trail. There are increased police patrols, but officers can't be everywhere at all times.

"I don't think I've gone down here by myself at night or anything. I definitely think it's common sense. Could happen anywhere, probably," said IU student Caitlin Fischer.

Ryterband said there is power in numbers.

"The more people, always, on the streets of Bloomington and every other city, walking, biking, just enjoying one another, watching the streets," said Ryterband. "The more people, the safer any environment."

Each light pole along the trail has a number. Police say it's important to keep an eye on those numbers as you are commuting or exercising, in case you have to report a crime. They also say it is a good idea to use the trail with others and avoid using it late at night or early in the morning, when there aren't as many people on the trail.

Police have not made any arrests in connection to the attempted sexual assault.