Woman sexually assaulted after exiting bus on Chicago Ave.; third incident in three weeks

Since mid-November, there's been a string of sex assaults against women walking by themselves in Minneapolis.
Since mid-November, there's been a string of sex assaults against women walking by themselves in Minneapolis.

Early Saturday morning, a woman was sexually assaulted after exiting a bus at East 34th Street and Chicago Avenue. The incident was the third reported sexual assault against a woman walking by herself at night in the last three weeks.

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The first incident occurred around 7 a.m. on November 19, when a St. Kate's student was dragged into the woods in Riverside Park and sexually assaulted. Louis Oliver, 48, was later arrested in connection with that incident.

The second incident occurred just hours earlier that same morning of November 19 when a 26-year-old woman was assaulted while walking along Stevens Square Park. That incident remains unsolved.

MPD Sergeant Stephen McCarty told the Star Tribune that "it is too early to tell if [the Chicago Avenue and Stevens Square] attacks were committed by the same person," adding that "Of course, the Sex Crimes Unit is looking at that aspect."

The Strib also provides some details about the Saturday morning Chicago Avenue assault:

[After the victim got off the bus], [t]he man grabbed and dragged her into a secluded area, then sexually assaulted her, police said. He also stole the woman's cell phone and jacket, which had other items in it, police added.

The woman told authorities that she believes her attacker followed her from downtown.

The suspect is described as a dark-complexioned black man, 30 to 40 years old, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a thin build. He was wearing a puffy black jacket. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact police Sgt. Melissa Banham at 612-673-2869.

The MPD advises women to avoid traveling alone after dark. If you have no choice, women are advised to stay away from isolated areas and be vigilant of anyone who might be following behind. It seems like good advice for men, too.

"Do you what you need to survive," an MPD crime issued after the Saturday morning incident says. "Your single most effective weapon is your own judgment."

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