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MEDIA RELEASE
August 28, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2015
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The State College Police Department is investigating an Indecent Assault that occurred in the early morning of August 28, 2015 between 3:00 AM and 3:30 AM on the 200 block of M Alley, which is located between South Sparks Street and South Patterson Street. The female victim, a Penn State student, reported to police that while she was walking to her residence on “M” Alley she heard someone running up behind her. The victim turned around and was attacked by a white, college aged male.  The victim was knocked to the ground with the suspect on top of her. The victim aggressively kicked and punched the suspect while screaming and was able to free herself and flee the area while the suspect fled north toward West Beaver Avenue. The victim did sustain injuries during the attack.
 
The suspect is described as a white male, college aged, approximately 5’7” or taller, with a larger build and brown, shaggy hair. The suspect was wearing a yellow, short sleeved button down shirt and green or dark colored pants.  

We are urging anyone who may have information regarding this incident to contact the State College Police Department at (814) 234-7150, by email or submit an anonymous tip through our website.
 
Incident # SCP20156711
Detective J. W. Aston  # 3290

The State College Police would like to provide students, residents and visitors suggestions to stay safe in our community.
 
Reducing your chances of being a victim of sexual/physical assault

  • Avoid traveling alone - Whether you are going out for an evening with your friends or just walking to class on campus, it is always safer to be with another person or with a group of people.  Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night.  Vary your route and stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.  
  • Park in well lighted areas - If you are unable to travel with another person or group, park your car in a well lighted area.  If the parking lot is dark with little activity, park elsewhere.
  • Avoid isolated areas:  It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Be aware of your surroundings:  Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so you can be more aware of your surroundings.   Are there suspicious people loitering around? Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation. 
  • Keep your hands free:  Try not to load yourself down with books, bags or other items as this can make you appear more vulnerable. 
  • Keep a whistle on your keychain:  If you are in an uncomfortable situation or you feel that you are being followed, blow the heck out of your whistle. This will startle the attacker and will also draw attention to you. This is the last thing the offender wants, attention.
  • Tell someone where you are going:  Let a friend or family member know where you are going and what time you plan on arriving.  Call that person when you get to your destination. If someone knows your plans and you have not arrived, this will alert them to a possible need for help/
  • Always carry a cell phone: Did you know that even if your cell is out of minutes, you can still dial 911 from the phone?
  • Trust Your Instincts! If something does not feel right, it probably isn't. Get out of the situation.
  • Know your limits when it comes to alcohol use - If you chose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation and stop when you begin to feel the effects of the alcohol.  Excessive consumption of alcohol may make you more vulnerable and significantly distort your memory and recall of events.  Illegal drug use or use of prescription medications will also greatly impair your judgment, ability to care/protect yourself and will make more vulnerable to assaults.
  • Avoid leaving a social event or being alone with someone you just met.   Do not allow yourself to be isolated with someone you do not trust or know well.
  • Watch out for each other.  When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.  At parties and bars, keep a friend in sight, check in from time to time to make sure you’re both comfortable with how things are going.
  • Never leave a drink unattended or accept a drink that you did not see poured.  
  • Always lock your doors and windows - Keep your home and car doors locked at all times.  Have your key ready as you approach your apartment, home or vehicle. 
  • Request a security escort Call 814-865-WALK (9255) - Penn State Police offer the Security Escort Service which is designed to provide walking accompaniment for Penn State students, employees, and visitors who may feel unsafe walking alone on campus at night.  Call the Security Escort Service before traveling alone. 
If you are Sexually or Physically Assaulted

  • If you are sexually/physically assaulted- Report the attack to police by calling 911 or go to a clinic or emergency room immediately.  You can decide later whether or not to press charges, but it is critical that you receive medical attention and caring support as soon as possible.
  • Find a safe environment- anywhere away from the attacker.  Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for support.
  • Know that what happened was not your fault and that now you should do what is best for you.
  • Preserve evidence of the attack – if sexually assaulted do not change clothes, bathe or brush your teeth.
  • Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.

Resource/Hotline Numbers:
 
Centre County Women’s Resource Center 1-877-234-5050 (toll free) or (814) 234-5050
 
National Sexual Assault Hotline - free, confidential counseling, 24 hours/day: 1-800-656-HOPE

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