UPDATE: Police Unsure if UVa Student Attacks are Connected

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September 29, 2010

(Charlottesville, VA) - University of Virginia Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Allen Groves, reports a female student was sexually assaulted near Grounds.

The incident happened on September 17 but had not previously been reported to media outlets by either Charlottesville police or the University.

In an e-mail to students obtained by the Newsplex, Dean Groves said the student was sexually assaulted near Chancellor Street at about 1:15 a.m. as she walked home to her sorority house.

"An unidentified white male knocked her to the ground and assaulted her. Because of the circumstances, information was not available earlier to share with you," Groves said. (Click Here for the full letter)

Chancellor Street is just a short walk from university property and is an area with many fraternities and sororities.

Charlottesville Police are investigating the incident, and are awaiting lab results.

"Due to the fact that we have not gotten [the lab results] back yet and the lack of recollection by the victim, we do not know what occurred yet, if indeed a crime did occur," said Lt. Gary Pleasants.

Dean Groves said during Wednesday's news conference on the attacks that his office was not able to make direct contact with the female victim until September 27, at which point she scheduled a personal meeting with University officials but later canceled the meeting.

Groves wrote to students that two days after that attack, on September 19, a student reported through a third party that she had been inside a fraternity and was "pushed into a pantry by an unidentified white male." Friends heard her scream and opened the door. The attacker ran.

Groves said he is between the ages of 18 and 20, approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall, 180 pounds, with medium length light brown hair.

"In the two incidents involving young women, police are suspicious that the perpetrator may have been waiting and watching for an opportunity to attack," Groves wrote.

Charlottesville Spokesperson Ric Barrick said Wednesday that his department is investigating the September 17 sexual assault, but the fraternity house incident has not been reported to Charlottesville Police at this time.

The Septemer 17 incident is exactly 11 months after Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington disappeared while attending a concert at the John Paul Jones Arena. And it was one week before the University held a Day of Dialogue about the issues stemming from the violent death of UVa student Yeardley Love.

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call Charlottesville Police at 434-970-3280 or Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

The existence of the Groves e-mail to students was first reported here by Blink On Crime.

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