PSU campus on the lookout for man suspected of attacking woman

PSU campus on the lookout for man suspected of attacking woman »Play Video
The man allegedly touched a woman on the campus of Portland State University near the Lovejoy fountain by the engineering building on Fourth Street.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police are looking for a man who assaulted a woman on the campus of Portland State University.

The suspect is a white man in his late 20s, about 6 feet tall with a stocky build and a scruffy beard. He was wearing a gray stocking cap with tassels, a blue rain jacket and a green bandana.

According to campus police, the woman, who is a student, was walking home when a man she described as homeless came up to her, asking for a dollar. While she was looking for her money, that's when she said he inappropriately touched her.

It happened near the Lovejoy fountain by the engineering building on Fourth Street.

It's concerning for a lot of students because it happened in the middle of the day just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Sgt. Joe Schilling, with PSU campus public safety, said the woman told the man to stop and then pushed the attacker away. She turned to keep going home and called public safety.

Schilling said because PSU is located in downtown Portland there are always challenges with who comes on and off campus.

"Being an urban campus, we don't have any good boundary," he said. "So the same concerns and problems that the Portland Police Bureau would have with the community at large, we have on the campus."

Schilling said the victim did everything right in this situation. He said she used a forceful voice and told him to stop. She pushed him away, immediately left the area and then got help.

An email was sent out to the campus community last night, warning them about the attack. Schilling said it's important for students to be aware of their surroundings and call for help if they're ever concerned.

There is a security camera right above where the incident happened, but it didn't record anything.

An unrelated attack on campus occurred last November.

In that attack, a 27-year-old student told police she was clubbed over the head by a man, dragged into an alley and assaulted. It happened near Southwest 10th and Market.

Self-Defense Techniques

At One With Heart, Tulen Center, they've been teaching women self-defense techniques for more than 30 years.

Danielle McGrath said the moves are simple to learn and highly effective. The three top tools are awareness, assessment and action.

"Using your awareness, it alerts you, you get a sense that something's not right and so you act on that right away," she said. "Assessment would be checking out the situation, escape is primary goal, so getting out of there, getting distance from the person. And then action would be using your basic self-defense tools."

It doesn't matter whether someone is sneaking up behind you or attacking you with a weapon or even how old you are, it's about using your voice to say "No!" and setting clear boundaries with your body language and striking over and over until you can run away and get help. Self-defense is all about being confident and calm.

"Nothing you can do is wrong when you're in a self-defense situation. Every woman does the best they can in that situation. Your goal is to escape," said McGrath.

Another big factor that goes along with being calm is to focus on your breathing. And also be positive. Tell yourself it's going to be OK.

The suspect in that incident has yet to be caught.