NEWS BRIEF: Man on Bicycle Indecently Assaults Woman

In the first indecent assault near campus this spring, a man riding a bicycle was seen assaulting a woman as she walked on the streets that converge behind the Science Center late Monday evening.

A witness reported to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) at about 8:25 p.m. Monday that a Hispanic assailant allegedly touched the victim inappropriately as she walked on Kirkland and Oxford Streets.

An indecent assault is defined by the state of Massachusetts as the “offensive touching of the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs or genital area.”

The suspect was reportedly seen fleeing down Oxford Street, and as of yesterday the perpetrator of the assault had not been found.

“A third party reported it,” said Steven G. Catalano, HUPD spokesman. “We sent people out to look but neither the victim, nor the suspect, was located.”

The suspect is described as a heavy-set, short Hispanic male that had been wearing a maroon-colored shirt on the night of the incident.

The last indecent assault in the area occurred outside of Pennypacker Hall last October, when a 5’6” Hispanic man on a “short bike” improperly touched a Harvard undergraduate.

“We realize that as the weather gets warmer, people are out and about more and need to become more vigilant of potential risks and take steps to avoid being victimized,” said Catalano.

Catalano said HUPD is always concerned that as the weather improves there will be an increase in these assaults, but did note that most of the indecent assaults in 2003 occurred during the fall.

According to Frank T. Pasquarello, spokesman for the Cambridge Police Department (CPD), because the victim still has not reported the incident, no official report is on file with CPD.