Sexual assault reported at off-campus apartment complex near GVSU

Posted at 2:35 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 22:11:40-04

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department is investigating a sexual assault that happened Thursday night at 48 West Apartments, 10897 48th Ave.

Officials say a 21-year-old woman was walking outside on a path at the apartment complex at about 11 p.m. when two men approached her.  She was pushed to the ground and sexually assaulted.

An alert from GVSU describes the suspects as a black man who is between 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 4 inches tall and a white man who is between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall with "scruffy facial hair."

"No clothing description or other information was reported," the alert says.

This is the third recent sexual assault reported near GVSU's campus.   The first incident happened Aug. 27 along 48th Avenue close to Lake Michigan Drive near Burger King.   The second happened Aug. 28 in the parking lot of Campus View Apartments on 42nd Avenue.

Police notice similarities in this incident compared to the other assaults that happened earlier in the school year, but they're not sure if they're connected.

"I can't say for sure if they're connected, but there are some similarities," said Captain Mark Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department. "The physical descriptions of the suspect are similar, the time of day of the assault and the locations of the assault are all similar."

Students at Grand Valley received the alerts on their phones Friday morning to inform then what happened.

"Whenever I see those alerts it's always really frustrating," said GVSU student Robyn Hankiewicz. "Just being on a college campus it's part of the rape culture. It's part of the society that we unfortunately live in."

While student say they feel safe on campus, it's always in the back of their minds.

"It is really frustrating because it's always in the back of your head no matter where you're waling or where you're going," said Hankiewicz. "I think as a female you're always more aware and conscious of your surroundings."

"I don't listen to music when I'm walking at night because I want to be aware of my surroundings and if I"m really uncomfortable I'll carry my keys between my knuckles so I can do more damage," said GVSU student Vashti Gregory.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the sheriff's department at 616-738-4022 or Silent Observer at 877-887-4536.