BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault attempt on an Indiana University student.
The incident was reported overnight at around 2:00 am on the Bloomington campus, prompting a campus-wide alert.
It's finals week at IU, meaning students are up and out later at night studying. Police say that was the case here.
A 19-year-old student said she was leaving the library after studying. According to police, as she was walking along a path that crosses the railroad tracks just north of the Kelley School of Business, a man grabbed her by the backpack.
"He pulled her off into a dark wooded area. He then exposed a pocketknife and stated that if she screamed he would stab her or kill her," said Lt. Craig Munroe, IU Police.
That's when police say he exposed himself and asked her to touch his genitals. She complied. Police say the man got frightened and she was able to get away. The suspect is still on the loose.
The university sent out a text alert warning students to be on the lookout.
"My first concern is if it was someone I knew because I know everyone has been out late studying. So that was the scariest part," said Allison McSorley, student. She says she typically does not walk alone at night, and "if I'm not with someone I'm talking to someone on the phone."
"If you have to walk alone, call for a ride. Make sure to stay in a well-lit area," said Lt. Munroe.
If you don't know someone who can come get you when you need a ride, the university offers a program called Safe Ride. It's a free service that starts every night at 8:00 p.m. The number to call is (812) 856-RIDE.
Meanwhile, the investigation continues as police look for the suspect described as a white male, 18-21, 5'10", muscular build, wearing blue jeans and a dark hoodie. Call Bloomington Police at (812) 339-4477 with tips.