Tempe police warn community about sex assaults

TEMPE, AZ - Police issued a warning Monday after four separate sexual assaults occurred in the same Tempe neighborhood.

According to a press release, since September 13, Tempe police have received two reports of sexual assaults and one report of sexual abuse in an area east of ASU's Tempe campus.

The most recent incident occurred around 3:15 a.m. on September 21. A female victim was sleeping in her apartment at The District, near Apache Boulevard and Rural Road, when a male suspect entered through an unlocked door. The victim woke to find the suspect touching her left breast.

Police say the suspect fled the apartment before police arrived. The victim told police she believed the man may have been intoxicated when the assault happened.

The suspect is described as a white or light-skinned Hispanic male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, approximately 180 pounds, and wearing a blue short sleeved polo shirt and possibly gray shorts. Police are working with the victim to come up with a composite drawing.

In an unrelated incident, on September 20, a woman called Tempe police to report a sexual assault also on Apache Boulevard at the 922 Place apartments. The victim told authorities she was at a party and had "a lot" to drink. She said she lost her memory around 1 a.m., but did remember an unidentified man on top of her performing sexual intercourse. During the investigation, the victim declined to further the investigation or pursue charges.

A third incident was reported, again at The District, on the morning of September 13. Police say Mohammed Alsharani is accused of sexual assault on a female victim. Police said during their investigation, they found Alsharani and the victim had been involved in a relationship prior to the assault.

During the incident, Alsharani allegedly held the victim down in her closet and covered her mouth while penetrating her. The victim told police she was intoxicated during the incident and she feared for her life.

Not mentioned in the press release, a fourth incident also occurred in campus housing. This incident involved an online date and police say an arrest was made.

Students who live at The District tell ABC15 these incidents have them rethinking their own personal safety and are reminded to be more aware of their surroundings. 

"With all the problems going on, I feel like The District has handled them well," said resident Ashley Geske.

Another young woman who also lives there said she would feel safer if apartment managers were more transparent with information when violent incidents happen on property.

"I feel like they should inform us more about what's going on because I feel like not everyone knows," she said

Tempe police say nearly one-third of all sexual assaults over the past three years occurred in the "Loud Party Corridor" (Rural Road to Price Rd – Broadway Road to University Drive).

Police said excessive alcohol consumption was a factor in all three crimes. Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said "These events underscore the importance of the Safe and Sober Operation. We will continue to reach out to both men and women – potential victims and victimizers of both genders – to do everything we can do keep the young people in our community safe."

Police say the incidents remain under investigation.

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