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Apr 9, 2014 10:07 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Attempted sexual assault in Cal Poly dorm

Police say a man tried to assault a female Cal Poly student, grabbing her from behind, putting his hand up her skirt and then fleeing.

The student reports the incident occurring at approximately 10:00 p.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of the Morro building inside the Cerro Vista Apartments, according to the Cal Poly Police Department.

Police say the woman screamed and the assailant ran away.

"If you are attacked, do exactly what she did last night which is make as much noise as possible and to fight back as much as possible to fight your attacker off," Cal Poly Police Chief George Hughes said.

Some students say despite the accessibility of the apartment-style dorms, they have not felt unsafe in the past.

"It seems pretty safe. There's lots of cops around," Cal Poly student Laurel Livingston said.

"I was pretty surprised. That's pretty bold," student John Knowles said.

Sexual assault advocacy groups were surprised to hear the news too, as they say about 80 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim already knows, according to RISE. In this case, the victim told police she did not know the man who attacked her.

University police say there have been two other incidents similar to this one earlier this year.

"We have no way to tell whether it's the same person or not," Hughes said. The police chief says during all three incidents, the women were not able to get detailed looks at their attackers or no look at all.

Hughes says the student from Tuesday's incident sustained no injuries.

However, advocates say that the attempted assault is still traumatic.

"You can never put a level on it. To the person, it feels life-threatening. To the person it feels like a traumatic experience. Everybody's reaction to it is going to be their reality," RISE volunteer coordinator Daniel Castaneda said.

Campus police say they are increasing the number of patrols in the Cerro Vista Apartment area. They are looking for a man in his 20s, "possibly Hispanic," wearing blue jeans and a dark gray hoodie with a thin blue stripe. They ask anyone with information to call Cal Poly Police at 805-756-2281.

For sexual assault awareness month, RISE is having two "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" events on Saturday, April 12 at City Park in Paso Robles and Saturday, April 26 at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo.

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