UC Berkeley Campus on High Alert for Sex Crimes

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday January 28, 2009 - 07:25:00 PM

Berkeley police are asking the community to help them track down a serial sexual predator accused of assaulting at least three college women around UC Berkeley’s South Campus area early Saturday morning. 

The suspect, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department, staged a similar attack on each of his victims, springing on them from behind, lifting their skirts, attempting to penetrate their vaginas with his finger and then running away. 

Kusmiss said that since the suspect had approached the girls from behind, they had been unable to get a good look at him but had generally described him as a white male in his 20s or 30s, 5’6” to 5’9”, with medium build and short dark hair. 

“We encourage all women who have had similar experiences, even though it may be humiliating for them, to report it to the police,” said Kusmiss, who called the crimes “attempted sexual penetration with a foreign object.” 

Two of the assaults, which took place at Channing Way and Piedmont Avenue, and Bowditch Way and Channing Way, respectively, after midnight, were not reported until the day after, Kusmiss said. 

The third incident, which took place on the 2400 block of Warring Street at 2:30 a.m., was reported the same day. 

None of the women was physically injured, Kusmiss said, adding that it was extremely unusual for crimes of this nature to occur in Berkeley. 

“We do have sexual battery from time to time where male suspects will try to grab a woman’s breasts or her thighs,” she said. “But the kind of incidents we saw last Saturday are usually earlier crimes of an escalating sexual predator.” 

Sex crime detectives investigating the situation believe that a similar incident that took place on Oct. 31, 2008, at Haste Street and Piedmont Avenue was related to last week’s cases, based on the modus operandi, Kusmiss said. 

According to the police, such crimes often go unreported, because of the stigma attached to them. 

A victim who did not report a similar crime or a witness to any of these crimes can contact the BPD Sex Crimes Detail at (510) 981-5735/5734.  

If the caller wishes to remain anonymous, please call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS. All Bay Area Crime Stoppers calls are completely confidential. For crimes in progress, call 911 or 981-5911 from your cell phone when in the City of Berkeley.