A stranger violently attacked and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman early Wednesday morning as she walked near downtown, according to a police report.
The assault happened about 2:40 a.m. as the woman walked on a sidewalk in the 300 block of West 11th Street, between Kentucky and Tennessee streets, said Sgt. Mike Pattrick, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department.
The woman told police the man was walking behind her on the sidewalk and, when she stepped aside to let him pass, he grabbed her and began touching her inappropriately, Pattrick said. When the woman tried to fight him off, he struck her several times in the face, then ran from the area, Pattrick said.
The attack happened outside the window of Timothy J. Knapp, who was sleeping in his apartment. He said he woke up when he heard a loud noise followed by "kind of a squelched scream."
He said he looked out of his window and saw the victim on the ground next to the building.
"She got up, looked around and then stood up, and then ran away," Knapp said.
Knapp said he didn't see the suspect.
The woman suffered facial injuries, but Pattrick said he didn't know whether she was hospitalized.
She described her attacker as either a Hispanic or American Indian man about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a stocky build and a shaved or bald head, who was wearing a dark jacket and dark pants.
Pattrick said women in that situation should make as much noise as possible, try to distance themselves from the attacker, and try to get to a populated area.