A 19-year-old University of Minnesota student who had just left a late-night party over the weekend was sexually assaulted near the campus, part of the city that has seen an increase in rapes this year.
The attack on the woman, described by Minneapolis police as a rape, occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday on the eastern edge of Van Cleve Park, which is just north of Dinkytown.
A crime alert issued to students said she was approached by three men. While two of them acted as lookouts, one sexually assaulted her. She was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for a sexual assault exam, city police said.
No arrests had been made, police said Tuesday.
Her attacker was described as between 30 and 38 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall and having a light build. He was wearing a dark jacket, dark shirt, jeans and work boots at the time of the assault. The woman was unable to describe her attacker’s ethnicity, campus Police Chief Greg Hestness said Tuesday.
The off-campus incident is being investigated by Minneapolis police. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call authorities at 612-692-8477.
A second reported rape that took place Monday evening less than two miles away from the Sunday incident is not connected, according to police. The victim on Monday was a 16-year-old girl who knows the suspect, according to a police spokesman.
Rape cases are down this year across the city, but have risen in the second precinct area around the University of Minnesota, according to Minneapolis police statistics. Rape numbers citywide fell 15 percent so far this year, from 383 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 28 last year to 327 in the same time frame this year. The second precinct reported a 16 percent rise in reported cases, from 37 last year to 43 this year.
“We just went through Parents Weekend, and I gave several parents groups the top few things I learned [about staying safe] from my daughter, who lived on campus,” Hestness said, who emphasized not walking alone “in the wee hours … and when socializing, always tell people one of your friends should remain sober.”
The chief added that there are many services offered by the school to help students make it home safely. More information on those options can be found at www1.umn.edu/police/escort.html.
Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report.