Champaign police issue alert after sexual attacks

By Melissa Silverberg

Female students on campus need to beware of a man exposing and taking photos of them on the street late at night after two such incidents have occurred in the past month, according to a statement released by the Champaign Police Department.

While walking on in the 600 block of East Healey Street, at 10 p.m. on July 31, a 20-year-old female student was approached by an unidentified man. He pulled her skirt to her ankles, smiled and took pictures of her on his cell phone, according to the report.

On Tuesday, two students were walking near 50 E. John St. when a man approached one of them from behind, lifted her dress and tried to pull down her underwear. The Champaign Police Department report also states that as the other woman tried to assist her friend, the suspect tried to pull down her top while taking pictures and laughing.

The suspect has not been located but the Champaign Police Department is looking for tips or any information students can provide. Anyone with relevant information can call, text or submit it online to Crime Stoppers.

There have been no further developments in the investigation, said Rene Dunn, spokeswoman for the Champaign Police. Dunn declined to comment further on the incidents.

Brittany Metz, sophomore in Business, said she has no idea about the recent attacks.

“I always just stay with a group when I’m out, at least one other person,” Metz said. “Hopefully a guy.”

Students may be on higher alert already due to the string of sexual assaults on campus last year and during the summer session. The Champaign Police suggested several tips for students to try and remain safe.

Students should travel in groups, stay in well-lit areas and trust their instincts. They also suggest students avoid being distracted by using cell phones or other electronics while walking.