Public Safety warns campus of groping incidents

The St. Thomas Department of Public Safety and the St. Paul Police Department are investigating multiple reports of groping and attempted groping incidents this week near campus.

According to a Public Safety email alert sent Wednesday, a female St. Thomas student was walking toward campus along Cleveland Avenue when she was approached by a man. The student reported that he began making unwanted advances and said he was going to grab her buttocks.

The student then got the attention of a Signal Care Auto Garage employee, went inside the garage and called the St. Paul Police Department.

Public Safety also recently learned of similar incidents near Macalester College and St. Catherine University, according to the alert.

The suspect is described as a black male, between 6 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall with a thin build and dreadlocks pulled into a ponytail. The alert stated he was observed wearing a black sweatshirt with a black stocking cap in one incident and a gray jacket and tan pants in another.

Public Safety Crime Prevention Sgt. Wells Farnham said Public Safety is doing its best to inform people of what to do if similar incidents occur, and remind people of services available to them. He said that one of the most important things to do is to let authorities know that something is happening as soon as possible.

“Report things as soon as possible. That way we can find out everything we need to find out,” Farnham said.

Farnham added that getting to a safe place is one of the best things to do in an emergency.

“Get help. Call 911 if you’re off campus, or … call us if you are on or near campus,” he said.

Farnham also warns students to be careful to be aware of one’s surroundings. Even if their eyes are open, they might have earbuds in.

“The danger is that when you’re plugged in, you’re potentially not aware of everything that’s going on around you,” he said.