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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

2 rapes reported at Harvard Yard

Published: August 24, 2012
Section: News

Two unaffiliated women have reported rape around Harvard in less than a week. Prior to the recent incidents, Harvard had not had a stranger-rape reported in 12 years. The descriptions of the attackers were disparate, and police do not believe there is a connection between the incidents, according to The Boston Globe. The first victim was grabbed as she entered the Yard through the Johnson Gate on Aug. 10, at 3:15 a.m.

The second woman was assaulted on Aug. 14 shortly after midnight on Oxford and Kirkland Street. She reported the assault to the Somerville Police three days later, on Aug. 17. Harvard University and detectives from Cambridge are also investigating. Despite the presence of a blue-light emergency box, there was no immediate report of the crime.

In response to the attacks, Harvard has increased security personnel, with both uniformed and plainclothes officers. It had done so after the Aug. 10 incident, but has said it is doing it again following the Aug. 17 attack. Burglaries and larceny have been on the rise in recent years around Harvard Square, according to the Cambridge Police Department.

Neither of the women attacked are affiliated with the university. Tuesday’s attacker is described as a white male, approximately five feet, six inches, with dark hair and thin build.

According to Public Information Officer Steven Catalano at the Harvard University Police Department, there was no reported stranger-rape for over a decade, he told The Boston Globe. He said an advisory has been sent to the campus, cautioning students and community members. Anyone walking through campus, he says, should do so in groups, avoiding the use of iPods and cellphones.

“The Harvard University Police Department wants to remind students, faculty and staff that we are located in an urban setting and share many of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city,” Catalano wrote in the advisory email sent to the campus.

The criminal in the Aug. 10 attack was described as a dark haired, “very tanned” young man with a medium build.