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Fall break prompts alert of serial rapist in Kansas

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | 4:07 p.m. CDT

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Almost a year after the last sexual assault attributed to a serial rapist who has preyed on young women near two college campuses, the state attorney general's office is urging women at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas to remain vigilant.

Investigators have linked 13 rapes near the universities since 2000 to one person, a slender white man between 25 and 40 years old who slips into the homes of single, college-age women in the wee hours of the morning and rapes them.

Most of the rapes — at least one every year since an attack in Manhattan, Kan., in October 2000 — occurred between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. during school breaks, and all were in off-campus housing where students commonly live, officials said.

Ashley Anstaett, spokeswoman for Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, said the office issued an advisory late last week because of the upcoming fall breaks, much like one issued earlier this year before spring break.

Kansas State students were off Monday. The fall break at the University of Kansas runs from Oct. 15-18.

Eight of the rapes occurred in Manhattan, which is home to Kansas State. Five have been reported in Lawrence, about 80 miles to the east, which is home to the University of Kansas.

Anstaett said the office became involved in the investigation in December after an attack near the University of Kansas.

Officials describe the suspect as between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet tall, with a slender build, who usually is armed and covers his face. He is believed to have conducted some sort of surveillance before the attacks.

Law enforcement agencies deferred questions about the investigation to the attorney general's office.

Last month, Six's office conducted safety forums at both universities to discuss the rapes.

University of Kansas spokeswoman Jill Jess said school officials plan to remind students of the attorney general's advisory before the break.

"I think we've tried to make sure the awareness level is high," Jess said.


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