Woman leaps out window to escape sexual assault

by Scott Doane

A 20-year-old woman leapt from the window of her second-story apartment to escape a sexual assault early Sunday morning, Minneapolis police said.

The victim arrived to her Como neighborhood home to find an unknown man had entered her apartment, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

The victim later told police the intruder raped her, according to the police report.

Garcia said he didn’t know if the victim is a University student. It’s also unclear if she interrupted a burglary, he said.

“It’s being looked at mainly as a sexual assault right now,” Garcia said.

After jumping from the window, the woman sustained a broken ankle, but made it to a neighbor’s house and called police, Garcia said.

The victim received medical treatment and a sexual assault exam at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the report.

The suspect fled the apartment before police arrived, Garcia said.

The suspect is a white man between 18 and 25 years old, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, with a medium build, dark hair and scruffy facial hair, according to a Minneapolis police description.

Police have not discovered a relationship between this sexual assault and one that occurred in Pioneer Hall on April 27.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said the latest suspect description didn’t match the descriptions of either of the Pioneer Hall incident suspects.

Individual studies senior Cassie Hougdahl lives in an apartment building on the corner of Como and 15th avenues. She came home alone around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, she said, and didn’t hear about the incident until Monday.

She was still unsure of exactly what happened and whether the incident occurred in her apartment complex, she said.

“My roommate and I were both pretty upset that we hadn’t heard anything,” she said. “We couldn’t really find information about it either.”

Hougdahl said the lock on the main door to her apartment building doesn’t always stay locked. People are able to keep it open, and she said she was told that it can be opened with any key.

“We’ve tried to get (the door) fixed many times,” she said. “That’s too bad it takes a situation like this to get action for things to be safer.”

Fifth-year biology student Lindsey Taylor lives on the 1000 block of 15th Avenue, and said she feels “very unsafe” in the Como neighborhood because her car was broken into last fall.

She said she always thinks about her safety, and has even thought of an escape plan if an incident happened in her house.

“It could easily happen to me,” Taylor said. “I think a big mistake is thinking that it won’t happen to you.”

Andy Steinke contributed to this report. Andy Mannix is a senior staff reporter.