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Police Looking for Groper Suspect

String of assaults on women on West Campus, GAP area


Police are hunting a suspect in a string of gropings over the last three days.

The suspect is a white man, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds, with a thin build and very short hair. He has been wearing a blueish-gray shirt and tan cargo shorts, according to the Boston University Police Department.

Three women reported being groped Monday evening by the suspect, who then fled. The first assault, between 4 and 4:30 p.m., occurred near the Chester Street–Ashford Street area of Brighton. Two subsequent assaults took place between 855 Commonwealth Ave. and the BU Bridge. 

An unspecified number of similar assaults were reported over the weekend in the area of Ashford and Pratt Streets, the BUPD says.

One BU employee and several students were among the victims of the gropings, says Scott Paré, BUPD deputy chief and deputy director of public safety. He says students should immediately report any suspicious activity to his department at 617-353-2121. Police request that witnesses try to get a good description of any suspect and forward it to them.

Also Monday night, Brookline Police received reports of two incidents of indecent exposure in the Pleasant Street area by a man matching the description of the groper suspect, according to Paré.

BU Police offer the following safety tips:

  • Remove headphones while walking or jogging. The distraction makes you vulnerable to attack.
  • Walk with a friend at night, and avoid areas that are not well lit.
  • Always carry a cell phone. But when you’re out walking or jogging, use it only for emergencies. Otherwise, it can be a distraction. (See headphones, above.)
  • Let someone know when you expect to arrive home.
  • And the perennial tip: If you’ve been drinking, don’t overindulge, as it increases vulnerability to assault.

Updates will be posted here as available.

Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

26 Comments on Police Looking for Groper Suspect

  • Jenn on 05.05.2015 at 9:56 am

    While I always appreciate BU Police’s efforts in their RAD classes and their safety tips, my stomach always turns when articles end with how people (read: women) can better contort their lives and lose their simple pleasures to keep themselves from being assaulted.

    Obviously, it’s not a perfect world and we have to be aware of our surroundings, but it makes me so mad that headphones while jogging, my cell phone and apparently going anywhere on my own and not checking in regularly with friends, family (i.e: what if you live alone?) could be contributing to my own vulnerability.

    I wish women didn’t have to think about all this.

    To the perv out there that is doing this (and likely has read this article and is just loving that): LEAVE WOMEN ALONE, you absolute piece of garbage.

    • asds on 05.05.2015 at 10:53 am

      Men can be assaulted too.

      • Jenn on 05.05.2015 at 11:22 am

        Of course, my apologies for not mentioning this. These specific attacks were directed at women and that is what I was responding to. I certainly do not intend to minimize men who have been victimized.

        • don't apologize on 05.05.2015 at 4:29 pm

          It is true that men can be assaulted too, which is equally not OK, but that comment got under my skin. It doesn’t mitigate the fact that women are all too often told to change their actions to avoid getting harassed (e.g., the age-old “don’t get drunk so you won’t get raped!”), and men, ultimately, are not. Jenn should not have to apologize for making this obvious and TRUE statement to appease someone who can’t just empathize with what others have to deal with.

          Also, this is not an attack on BU’s reporting. I appreciate that they made us aware of this and, unfortunately, the precautions they suggested are valid in this case to help prevent more assaults. It is just very frustrating that women have to monitor their activity to protect themselves.

          • Jenn on 05.06.2015 at 8:05 am

            It got under my skin too, I should be allowed to be frustrated about it without apologizing for it. While men are assaulted (and absolutely no one is saying they are not) I think I should be allowed to be frustrated that too often women are told to change their behavior, not go out at night (??! Which is crazy) and that we are asked to basically always have an escort.

            Also, fun fact: the escort security service offered by BU does not run in the summer and has already stopped for Spring (that’s what someone told me)

            I agree, it’s good to have the information. Just COME ON can women please exist in a city without creeps bothering them? I’m tired of being told to change my life, change my routine (don’t keep the same routine! people can get you that way too!), not listen to my music, be alert, always have a buddy, etc etc etc. I completely understand it, but it grates. It really, really grates.

          • asds on 05.06.2015 at 4:02 pm

            Nobody asked for an apology. Nor did anybody disagree with Jenn’s statement. Singling out women doesn’t promote equality which is what I think is the better path in ridding sexual violence and assault.

      • shark on 05.06.2015 at 1:28 pm

        So can sharks. What’s that got to do w/these attacks, these warnings, and this discussion? The attempt to derail that discussion by diverting the focus to a group that doesn’t experience the kind of vulnerability and admonitions to proscribe their behavior that women do shows a disturbing degree of misogyny. Would not be surprised if it is the perv.

        • asds on 05.06.2015 at 4:04 pm

          Really? Calm yourself instead of going aggressive on comment boards.

          • Jason on 05.07.2015 at 10:36 am

            HA! I think you were an insensitive clod, people pointed that out, your point just got completely torpedoed and now you’re accusing women of being overly-aggressive – really nice move, dude. Nice move.

            Seriously, it’s not about us right now. It’s about them. And that’s OK. It can be about us another time (and often is!)

        • be equal then on 05.21.2015 at 7:25 am

          You should be more respectful. You just called a perv someone you don’t know in a public discussion forum. Be tolerant. Being a woman doesn’t give you any right to overreact and offend men or women or whoever. Understand that! Unfortunately for women, there are still many (like you) that ask for equality but are not willing to be equal. Equality comes in handy when convenient but when not then you think you are different and have different rights. I agree with the topic and the points people make about women being cornered to do things they shouldn’t to protect themselves; but as someone above said,this is the world. However, I am disgusted by your “me woman can say whatever I want whenever I want because I am a woman” attitude.

          • Jenn on 05.26.2015 at 9:34 am

            Wow. No. Sorry. Respectfully, I could not disagree with you more. Someone who is touching women WITHOUT their consent is a perv. Period. This is not an affront on the male gender in any way, shape, form or fashion. To say so is an insult to men. This guy is a perv. He’s a deviant and he is wrong. He is groping women like he has license to their bodies and has done it in broad daylight. Yes. He is a perv. I stand by my statement.

            Very strange that you’re defending this guy, frankly. I am so perplexed that I am wondering if you’re just trying to get a rise out of people.

            As to the remainder, I can say whatever I want if I am respectful. And I am. I refuse to coddle someone who is assaulting women, however and frankly I am surprised you are defending him.

            I am glad we agree that the state of the world is unfair in that women do have to take these steps to protect themselves. That was my entire point.

            As to the whole rant about equality and women using it to find it convenient…? That’s between you and your Men’s Right’s group or your therapist.

    • Anonymous on 05.06.2015 at 8:09 am

      While I appreciate BUPD’s efforts to catch this guy, why can’t we focus on teaching the community not to assault others instead of teaching people how to not be assaulted.

      • Student on 05.06.2015 at 11:25 am

        Yes, because we clearly have a societal problem where people don’t know this is wrong. >.<

        Its generally good life advice to take out your headphones anyways, you will be amazed at how much more you notice around you and is good for general safety (not getting hit by cars) as well.

        • Jason on 05.07.2015 at 10:37 am

          Tooootally missed the point people are making.

  • Jenny on 05.06.2015 at 9:51 am

    You know what really “increases vulnerability to assault?” Being in the vicinity of a predator, regardless of what you’re doing or wearing. Hopefully they catch this guy soon.

    As a woman who walks most places around campus, this doesn’t fill me with fear; it fills me with rage. Someone brazen enough to attack women in the daylight hours, in such a heavily trafficked area, has clearly been getting away with it for a while.

    • Margo Miller on 05.06.2015 at 11:40 am

      Excellent points.

    • Amy on 05.06.2015 at 11:52 am

      Agree totally. 4-4:30pm in May is not “evening” or “dusk.”

    • Stephanie on 05.06.2015 at 2:35 pm

      I’m going to assume that this, “If you’ve been drinking, don’t overindulge, as it increases vulnerability to assault.” is a tip for predators that means that you’re more likely to assault someone because you’re less inhibited. Yeah, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and go with that.

      I understand the tips from BU PD, but perhaps they ought to seriously start incorporating tips to predators as well. Let’s start with: Do not touch anyone without their explicit permission!

  • BU Mom on 05.06.2015 at 1:23 pm

    Protect yourself from this a**, you protect yourself, be aware of your surroundings, shortcuts through dark areas are never a safe idea, travel in pairs, etc… The same safety measures you learned in kdg, keep practicing. This is no time for the young and dumb decisions we all make in life. You are way more important than this perv, treat yourself like you’re worthy,because you are. Don’t go home with strangers either! Mom

  • Lara on 05.06.2015 at 3:38 pm

    BU PD Safety Tip: Never exist in public while female! Because that’s essentially what it comes down to. What it SHOULD come down to is: dear men, stop groping and abusing women.

    Imagine the amount of women who experience harassment at this level in Boston and never report it? I am glad, nevertheless, that BU Today is alerting us to this, and I really hope that the PD catches this horrible jerk.

    • Jenn on 05.06.2015 at 3:53 pm

      And I hope if any bystanders SEE this guy do something, they stick out a leg or something while he is running away and trip him! Surely at the times of day he is committing these acts, there are crowds.

  • egk on 05.06.2015 at 7:12 pm

    All of these comments are good and comprehensive, and while I agree with most of them, I want to point something out: do you actually think that telling this guy to stop is going to help? Do you really think that if the BUPD gave these predators ‘tips’? It’s like telling a rapist not to rape; do you really think that’s going to stop him? These people are completely messed up, for whatever reason, and a random person telling them to stop is going to make literally zero difference.
    I definitely agree with the fact that our society is flawed and we need to educate men (and women) how to properly behave and respect others, but come on, have some common sense.

    • Jenn on 05.07.2015 at 8:05 am

      Definitely see your point, but I think beyond anything the comments I’ve seen on this board are women being frustrated and angry about the way things are – and though we understand we have to take precautions, we’re angry about the way things are. Nobody is suggesting rapists are going to change, but we are hoping society starts early with teaching respect from an early age.

      Women are taught very young to be afraid of being victims by society, we learn it young and it’s hammered into us through media, television, news reports, government, etc. I think many young men are not taught to respect women’s bodies. This is changing of course, and the vast majority of men are lovely and respectful. There is a hope to try to catch the ones that never learned, that never thought about it, that don’t see ‘what the big deal is’, before they commit a crime.

  • George Miluakee on 05.06.2015 at 7:40 pm

    All these comments that are saying the advice is wrong are really dumb. Obviously we should try to prevent people from groping or assaulting anyone else ever. We would ideally like to live in a world where we can be completely carefree and happy. But to get mad about some simple public safety advice?! Its not like the police aren’t trying to catch this perp!

    For example: We teach our children that they should never follow or get into a car with a stranger. Ideally it would be nice if they could depend on any stranger to give them a ride anywhere. We don’t do that however because it keeps us and our children safer! I’m really amazed that people would get angry at the police for disseminating sage advice. They aren’t saying that the victims are at fault, far from it. They are simply saying that if you want to increase your likelihood of not being assaulted then these tips might help.

    For example, crossing an intersection. I can, legally, rely simply on the walk signal to cross the street. And an inattentive driver would be at fault if they hit me. But if I’m NOT looking at my phone or distracted while I do it then I reduce the chance that I will get hit by an inattentive driver. Should drivers be paying attention? Obviously. Should I still take measures to prevent getting hit? Obviously. Some of you are getting mad about the wrong things.

    • silky johnson on 05.07.2015 at 9:57 am

      people are getting mad about men attacking women. that’s not the wrong thing to get mad about.

    • TS on 05.07.2015 at 10:01 am

      Saying these comments are “dumb” is very offensive. My take on these comments is that people aren’t mad at BU’s response, they’re frustrated about the larger issue: that women need to alter their behavior to stay safe. I completely agree that BU’s tips are valid in this case, since there is already a criminal on the loose and women need to be aware of their surroundings, and I’d bet that most women who commented on this post would feel the same. Of course there will always be dangerous, messed up people that we need to protect ourselves from, but that doesn’t negate the fact that, as Jenn said above, women are taught from childhood to protect themselves and be afraid, and instead young men should be taught to be respectful of women’s bodies through school, the media, sports stars and celebrities, etc. This wouldn’t stop it completely, but I definitely think it would help.

      Another HUGE frustration of mine is how small-minded some people are when it comes to this topic. Did it ever occur to you that since a large majority of women feel this way, there is a REASON? That we aren’t all being ridiculous? The lack of empathy in this country for what others go through, whether it be relevant to gender, race, sexuality, or anything else, baffles me.

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