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Fourth assault reported near GVSU

Becky Vargo • Sep 28, 2016 at 12:12 PM

ALLENDALE TWP. — A fourth assault of young women near the Grand Valley State University campus since the beginning of the school year has been reported.

GVSU officials sent an email alert to students — due to the latest assault being on adjacent property — as soon as they received enough information about the attack from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, university spokesperson Mary Eilleen said.

Capt. Mark Bennett of the Sheriff’s Department said the incident, being investigated as a sexual assault, occurred at about 10 p.m. Tuesday near the Trio Townhouses, 10507 48th Ave. Police said a 19-year-old woman was forced into the bushes near the complex and assaulted.

The only description of the suspect was that he was a white male, Bennett said. The suspect fled the area on foot.

Bennett said the investigation is continuing into this incident and others in the same general area in the past several weeks “that could be related.”

Less than a week ago, police reported an attack by two men on a 21-year-old woman at 48 West Apartments. The suspects were described as a tall black man and a white man.

Two separate attacks were reported in late August. Police said the first attack occurred late on a Friday night in the area of Lake Michigan Drive and 48th Avenue near the Burger King restaurant. The second attack occurred at Campus View Apartments, 10255 42nd Ave., between 1 and 2 a.m. the following Saturday, as a woman removed items from her vehicle.

Anyone with information on any of these incidents is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 616-738-4000, Silent Observer at 877-887-4536, or leave a tip online at mosotips.com.

“The Grand Valley State University Police Department is very concerned about the sexual assaults taking place near our campus,” said Chief Renee Freeman, a former lieutenant for the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. “Our priority is to keep our students, faculty and staff safe and provide a secure environment in which to learn, live and work. While these assaults are not being investigated by our agency, we are working closely with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, whose personnel are taking immediate action to investigate the incidents.”

Freeman said that in an effort to enhance safety and educate the community, her department offers services like SafeWalk or Rave Guardian.

“GVPD encourages all persons to be alert and aware and to report any concerning or suspicious activity,” Freeman said. “Additionally, we ask that members of our community actively participate in bystander intervention.”

Resources are available at www.gvsu.edu/vro/ or through the GVSU Women's Center and Victim Advocate.

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