By Kevin Gale
A man who helped prevent a sexual assault from occurring against a Western student on campus early yesterday morning is being sought out to help catch the assailant.
Const. Wendy McGowan of the University Police Department said the female victim was attacked at 2:40 a.m. yesterday. While walking alone at the bottom of University College hill she was approached from behind by a 20-25 year-old six-foot Caucasian male wearing a dark jacket with a hood.
She was then thrown to the ground by the attacker, who proceeded to remove her clothes, McGowan said.
At that moment, McGowan explained, a man walking down the hill yelled out, which caused the assailant to flee. The victim, who sustained no injuries, ran to a friend's house nearby where the police were contacted.
"She's pretty shaken up," said Krista Loye, a second-year biology student and friend of the victim.
The reason the police are calling the incident a sexual assault is because there was sexual intent by the assailant, McGowan explained. "If it hadn't been interrupted a serious sexual assault could have occurred," she said.
The best avenue for finding the assailant right now is to find the man who yelled from the hilltop, McGowan said.
The victim had left The Spoke to catch a cab in the area between the police station and Somerville House, Loye said. When she could not get one and realized the University Community Centre was locked, she proceeded to the Richmond gates to call another.
The assault occurred near one of the campus' emergency phones which was not activated by the victim. Loye said the victim's first instinct was to get away from the scene.
McGowan said the station is open 24 hours and the police will assist in any way possible. However, she added it is better for students to govern their hours around Foot Patrol because an officer may not be available to help someone at all times.
Dave Crombie, co-ordinator of the Foot Patrol, said his service is only currently available until 1 a.m. because the demand is not enough to warrant the use of volunteer's time to stay open longer.
There has been one report per year of sexual assault on campus since 1989.