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USC issues alert on assaults

LAPD and campus police increase patrols after two female students are attacked late at night.

September 10, 2008|Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writer

Police are warning students at USC and nearby residents to be aware of their surroundings and take extra precautions when walking after two female students were sexually assaulted near university-owned off-campus housing.

The Los Angeles Police Department and USC campus police have increased patrols in the area around the campus, they said, and students have been cautioned to walk in well-lighted areas and to walk in groups.

The first attack occurred about 1:30 a.m. Friday in the 3000 block of McClintock Avenue near the Cardinal Gardens complex. A female student was walking on the sidewalk when she was approached by a man who grabbed her from behind, groped her and sexually assaulted her. The assailant ran away, police said.

The second attack took place about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 2300 block of Hoover Street, blocks from the first assault, police said. A female student walking alone was approached by three men. One of the men, under the false guise of an escort, walked the victim to her apartment. Once inside, he sexually assaulted her and fled.

Both women suffered minor injuries and did not have to be hospitalized, Los Angeles Police Officer Ana Aguirre said.

The victims described their assailants as clean-cut men with light complexions, either Latino or light-skinned African American, Aguirre said.

The school newspaper, the Daily Trojan, reported Monday that USC Department of Public Safety officials notified students of the assaults in brief e-mails sent during the weekend and Monday night.

No arrests have been made, and police said they did not know if the incidents were related. Anyone with information is asked to call the Southwest Division sexual assault unit at (213) 485-6570 or (213) 485-2585. There is also a 24-hour, toll-free number: (877) 529-3855.

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molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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