Three women have been sexually assaulted within blocks of the Quad in separate incidents over the past week, the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) said yesterday.
According to CPD spokesperson Frank D. Pasquarello, an unidentified man groped the women as they walked alone near Huron and Concord Avenues.
Pasquarello said the times of the assaults do not fit a pattern—the most recent incident occurred on Wednesday morning around 11 a.m. and the second on Tuesday night around 8:30 p.m. Pasquarello did not know when the first incident occurred, but said it was sometime on or after Oct. 10.
According to Pasquarello, the suspect—described as a 5-foot-10-inch to 6-foot tall white male, age 25 to 35 with short brown hair and weighing 170 to 180 pounds—fled on foot following the encounters.
Pasquarello said that the victims were not affiliated with Harvard.
But Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said students should still be cautious, especially when walking near the area of the latest incidents.
“Whenever walking, either day or night, always try to walk with someone, and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk while talking on the telephone. Don’t make yourself look vulnerable,” Catalano said.
Though these incidents were under CPD’s jurisdiction, Harvard has seen a rise in the number of sexual assaults reported on campus over the past four years.
According to annual campus crime statistics, there were 25 sex offenses reported on Harvard’s Cambridge campus last year, up from 23 in 2001, 16 in 2000 and 11 in 1999.
According to 2002 Cambridge statistics, the city took 24 reports of indecent assault—the category of offense this week’s incidents fall under —up from 22 in 2001.
The reports define indecent assault as “the unwanted touching of one person or another, generally in a private area or with sexual overtones.”
In 2002, only nine of the Cambridge indecent assaults involved an attacker who was a stranger to the victim.
—Staff writer Jenifer L. Steinhardt can be reached at email@example.com.