By Jen Rodino
Local authorities continue searching for the man they believe has committed three separate brutal sexual assaults in the past nine months. Many are concerned and fear that the man will attack again in the near future.
The first assault took place in Jupiter on April 9. The other two occurred in the West Palm Beach-Lake Worth area on Aug. 7 and Jan. 16.
Capt. Carol Gregg, head of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s special investigations division, told the Palm Beach Post, “all three women were seriously injured and the ones attacked in August and January required hospitalization.”
The three women were alone when attacked. It appears that the rapist chooses his victims based on their isolation.
The rapist violently attacks the victim and beats them about the head and face for a few minutes, then leaves.
Palm Beach County detectives refuse to comment any further than what has been reported in the Feb. 4 issue of the Palm Beach Post, but indicated that no new attacks have been reported.
However, agencies across the West Palm Beach and Lake Worth areas are still alert and following the open case.
Terry Wheeler, director of Safety and Security at Palm Beach Atlantic University, said this is a good opportunity to emphasize the safety education process.
“This is a very violent offender and all of Palm Beach Atlantic security has been informed of the current situation,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler stresses that since past incidents have occurred in the South Florida area, and all relatively close to the PBA campus, it is necessary to point out that all students need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
“Students should always have someone with them wherever they go, especially when they are at City Place, the mall and walking to and from their car,” Wheeler said.
It is very important that students take a good look around them at all times and look for things that are out of the ordinary.
“We rely on the people reporting to us,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler also added that all campus Safety and Security staff continue to have “high visibility” around PBA.
“If we continue to keep our security in sight, whether they are on bike, foot, or driving around in the golf carts, then that makes PBA not an easy target for any type of criminal,” Wheeler said. “With this type of situation, personal awareness, safety and common sense are the three key factors to have.”
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office reported 35 sexual assaults so far for 2010, only one of which is associated with the rapist.
If you see anyone suspicious around campus contact Safety and Security at 561-803-2500.