Purdue University Police investigating sex assault reported on campus

Police urge students to walk in groups after dark.
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Purdue University police are investigating a report of a sexual assault on campus. It occurred around 3:00 am Friday.

According to police, a student said she left Hicks Undergraduate Library and was walking in the 400 block of Wood Street when she was shoved, pulled into an alley and knocked to the ground. The woman said the man was on top of her before he suddenly got up and ran away.

"She was walking through the vicinity and, unfortunately, was attacked," said Purdue Police Capt. Eric Chin.

The suspect was described as dark-skinned, with a ponytail and wearing dark clothing. The man was described as being intoxicated.

At Purdue's police dispatch center, investigators are looking through video from surveillance cameras around campus for clues. Thirty percent of campus now has camera coverage.

The incident is very similar to one at Indiana University early Monday morning. A female student was walking home alone from the library at 2 a.m. She was assaulted on a path on campus near some railroad tracks.

Police are advising students not to walk alone at night, to walk in well-lit areas, to make noise and attract attention if confronted, and be aware of your surroundings.

"Almost always, I am on the phone with somebody on the walk home," said Purdue student Kimie Bates.

She has to keep late hours during exam weeks, she said.

"I had one class that didn't let out until 10:00," Bates added. "I just called my sister and talked to her all the way home."

"I'm in computer engineering, so I have to be in the labs late at night working. I have a friend, also a woman, we do a little better walking together," said another student.

Purdue's Student Security Patrol and the university police department offer the Safe Walk program, which provides escorts to and from campus buildings. Students in need of an escort can call 765-494-SAFE (7233). Walking escorts are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But university officials say not a lot of students make the call.

"We have a really safe campus out here. At any given time, there are four law enforcement agencies in this given area," Chin said.

Anyone with information on the assault is asked to call the Purdue Police Department at 765-494-8221, or the WeTip anonymous hotline, which is used by all Greater Lafayette law enforcement agencies, at 1-800-78CRIME (1-800-782-7463).