The Boston Police and the Boston University Police are on the hunt for a groper wanted in three sexual assaults that took place on Monday evening.
Three women reported being groped by a male suspect who then fled the area after the assaults. The first incident happened around 5:23 p.m. near Chester Street. The victim said she felt the suspect approached her from behind and attempted to lift her dress. The victim then spun around and struck the suspect and chased him until he got away. The second incident took place near 855 Commonwealth Ave. when a suspect approached the victim from behind, lifted her skirt and fled towards the Agganis Arena. The third assault took place on the B.U. Bridge.
The BUPD also said that an unspecified number of similar assaults were reported over the weekend in the Linden Street, Ashford Street and Pratt Street area.
The suspect is described as a white male in his thirties, 5 feet 9, about 165 lbs., with a thin build and very short hair. It was reported that the man was wearing a blue/grey shirt and tan cargo shorts.
BUPD Deputy Chief Scott Pare said that the victims included one Boston University employee and several students. Brookline Police also received reports of two incidents of indecent exposure in the Pleasant Street area, though it was not clear if these incidents were related to the suspect wanted in the groping.
“When something like this happens, we would encourage, but not pressure, victims to tell the police and talk to someone they trust,” B.U.’s Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism volunteer Kara Webb said.
“We advise people to go out with friends or known associates and stick to the strength in numbers,” Webb said. “Unfortunately, that is sometimes used on the flipside in blaming a victim for not going far above and beyond to avoid an assault. Our mission is to ensure that people are able to feel safe if they need a place to discuss instances like this.”
Relational therapy and sex therapy services specialist Dr. Dan Pollets said that behaviors like a serial groper are often progressive, meaning that the perpetrator will actively seek more of these thrills to seek higher stimulation.
“In general, instances like this are more of a fetish behavior and taking a victim by surprise,” Dr. Pollets Said. “It is a Level Three offense in violating someone’s personal space and quite often, the perpetrator has been sexually abused or traumatized.”
The BUPD offered a list of safety tips to advise pedestrian safety. They recommend people remove their headphones while walking or jogging so they are not distracted and less vulnerable. They echoed Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism in advising students to let people know where they are going and to travel in groups at night and to avoid poorly lit areas. They also recommend that people avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
“In many cases, you see the perpetrator playing cat and mouse with authorities,” Dr. Pollet said. “They will commit an act in one location then another in a different location on purpose to throw off authorities. It is important to know that the community is at risk until this person is caught.”