Police, attorney general to host personal-safety forum at KU

The state attorney general has planned a personal safety forum at Kansas University, in an effort to increase awareness about a series of rapes in Lawrence that date back to 2004.

Attorney General Steve Six and Lawrence police will host the forum at 11 a.m. Sept. 9, in Alderson Auditorium, in the Kansas Union. Another forum will be held that evening at Kansas State University in Manhattan, where similar rapes have occurred.

“Law enforcement and university officials are participating in the forums to raise awareness about sexual assault as the fall semester begins,” said Ashley Anstaett, attorney general spokeswoman.

Law enforcement officials have found similarities among 13 rapes in Manhattan and Lawrence between 2001 and 2008. Authorities have said the victims, time of attack and manner of attack are similar. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said it was in Manhattan as recently as last week investigating the case.

All of the rapes in Lawrence and a majority of the rapes in Manhattan have occurred while students were on a break from school. The suspect has always had his face covered in some way and has been armed during the sexual attacks, which have been described as lengthy, law enforcement officials have said.

Lawrence police have connected five rapes in Lawrence, involving six victims, which have occurred between about 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. In the most recent attack, which occurred Dec. 1, 2008, a 19-year-old KU student was attacked by a man who entered her home with a handgun.

Students and community members are invited to participate in the personal safety forums next week, during which they’ll learn how to avoid attacks and how to take advantage of safety resources on campus.

“The new students, a lot of them, this is their first time away from home,” said Sgt. Bill Cory, Lawrence police spokesman. “(The forum) just provides them with ideas and ways to keep themselves safe.”