Female reports sexual assault near City Hall

A woman reported that she was sexually assaulted by an unknown man near Washington Circle early Wednesday morning, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman confirmed.

Lt. Nicholas Breul said that at about 1:45 a.m. a woman in her 20s reported that a man forced her to have “sexual intercourse against her will” in the 2300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

A Crime Alert sent by the University Wednesday evening reported that the alleged assault occurred behind 2317 Pennsylvania Ave., near the Spanish Embassy on the corner of 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Breul was unable to say if the woman is a student at GW, citing laws about victim’s privacy.

The suspect in the case is described as a Hispanic man, about 5’8″ to 5’9″ and about 135 to 140 pounds with short, black hair, Breul said. The suspect was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.

As of Wednesday evening, MPD had not made an arrest in the case.

A Crime Alert was sent to the GW community late Wednesday evening, after MPD informed the University Police Department of the crime Wednesday.

“The safety of the GW community is a top priority for GWPD. In the event of a serious incident which may pose an on-going threat to members of the GW community, a blast e-mail Crime Alert is sent to students and employees on campus,” said UPD Chief Kevin Hay. “In this particular case, GWPD learned of the alleged assault today from the Metropolitan Police Department. Once we received details of the crime, GWPD issued a Crime Alert.”

The crime occurred “outside on the street,” Breul said. He reminded students that at “2 o’clock in the morning, Pennsylvania Avenue is a pretty desolate place” and encouraged students to be “very aware of their surroundings.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and Foggy Bottom Association President Asher Corson said the case was unusual for the area, adding that it is even more rare that the assailant was unknown to the victim.

Corson – a graduate of GW – recommended that women in particular be accompanied at night and that students use 4-RIDE.

“This is a really scary thing,” he said, adding that anyone could be a victim. Corson said he thinks UPD and MPD will put a lot of resources into the investigation of the assault.

He said the ANC will ask MPD to give as much information as it has about the case at the next community meeting, set for Oct. 13.

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