Berkeley women rally against skirt assaulter

March 4, 2009 7:15:37 PM PST
A serial sexual predator continues to strike near the University of California, Berkely campus, assaulting women wearing skirts. Wednesday, Berkeley students, including one of the victims, fought back.

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"We can wear skirts and we can wear shorts and tights and I have the right to feel safe," Morgan said.

The list of victims seems to grow each week - 20 attacks aimed at 19 victims, Morgan among them. She was the first to speak out publicly.

"I hope this man gets caught and I hope that this doesn't happen anymore and hopefully this rally shows that we are looking for him," Morgan said.

Berkely students were out in force - and in skirts - to show just how mad they are.

"I'm just really angry that we're being forced to change our behavior and that more isn't being done to catch the attacker," Emma Fazio said.

The elusive attacker has been assaulting women since September, but police have few leads. The man sneaks up behind women as they walk late at night, lifts up their skirts and then molests them.

Only a handful of witnesses have actually seen his face but police have created a sketch of a white man, in his 20s, about 5 feet ten inches tall, 160 pounds, with dark, wavy hair.

Authorities will not say if they have put out decoys to try to catch him, but they are waiting for him to strike again.

"Certainly we are widening our net and we have more resources on it, it's just a matter of time," Berkeley police sergeant Mary Kusmiss said.

Police are confident there are more victims who have not come forward. Of the 20 reported attacks, eight of the victims were delayed in reporting the assault to police.

"It's not uncommon with these types of crimes- indecent exposure, sexual battery- that women have some measure of shame," Kusmiss said.

It has caused some to live in fear, but others are fighting back.

"I've been wearing dresses and skirts more, kind of like, 'I dare you,'" Joy Sargent.

Even some young men on campus are showing their solidarity by wearing skirts.

"It's something that we all have to come together to solve as a group," Colin Beck said.

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