A man robbed and attempted to sexually assault an employee of the Catholic Center at NYU early Thursday morning, according to police and school officials.
The woman, 24, was letting herself into the building at Thompson Street and Washington Square South around 5:30 when the suspect pushed his way in, robbed her and tried to sexually assault her before fleeing when she fought back, authorities said.
"The assailant is believed to have followed the victim along the south side of the park prior to the assault and robbery," Jules Martin, vice president for public safety, said in a university-wide email.
The woman was taken to Beth Israel Hospital for treatment, police said.
The suspect is described as a muscular black man wearing a sweater, sweatshirt or hoodie. He had a bandage, possibly a cast, on one arm.
The Catholic Center is often used as a place to study, and the building is connected to the university student center. Martin asked the university community to be on alert.
"NYU is in one of the safest neighborhoods in the safest large city in the U.S," Martin said. "But this morning's event is a reminder to us all that even with the strides our city has made in reducing crime – particularly violent crime – and even with the presence of a substantial security force around university buildings, we must be mindful of the possibility of criminal activity."
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Martin and police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
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