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UGA student fights off sexual assault west of downtown Athens

By Joe Johnson

A young woman reportedly fought off a sexual attack late Saturday night as she walked home from downtown, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

The 19-year-old victim said she was walking at about 11:30 p.m. on South Harris Street, just past Dearing Street, when a male grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth with his hand, and pulled her into some bushes across the street from Dearing Garden Apartments, according to the report.

The victim said that her assailant unzipped her shorts before he got “spooked” by her kicking and screaming and ran off toward Milledge Avenue or Broad Street, while she ran toward Waddell Street, according to the report.

A Google Maps image of the area of the attempted sexual assault

The victim said when attacked, she was talking to a friend via the FaceTime smartphone app, and that she dropped the phone when grabbed. Police said the friend told them that the line went silent and then could only see images of leaves on her phone’s screen, according to the report.

Police said they asked the friend to write down anything she remembered over the next few days and that an officer would be reaching out to her.

Police said that a security camera at 458 Dearing St. might have captured images of the suspect running away, but they did not immediately seek any video footage due to the late hour.

The victim did not report the incident until 2:34 a.m. Sunday, after having first called her parents.

She did not get a good look at the suspect, and could only tell police that his hand, which covered most of her face, had a tan skin tone.

Many University of Georgia students live in the area of the attack, including at the Delta Zeta sorority house. Capt. Christopher Nichols of the Criminal Investigations Division confirmed that the victim was a UGA student and a member of a sorority, but he did not know which one.

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