University Police confirmed Wednesday that a man tried to sexually abuse a woman Oct. 16 at the East Lagoon.
The unidentified woman said a man grabbed her from behind, threw her to the ground and tried to “sexually touch her,” UP Lt. Kathy Guimond said.
The woman fought with the man, and he got up and ran away, Guimond said. Several buttons were torn off the victim’s coat, she said.
The attacker is described as a white male with brown hair and a medium build who stands about 5 foot 7 inches tall, Guimond said. At the time, he was wearing a baseball cap, jeans and a denim jacket, she said.
A passerby used a call box to notify UPs. Guimond said she did not know if the woman was an NIU student.
“I want to make sure people understand the difference between sexual assault and sexual abuse,” Guimond said. “Sexual abuse is a class A misdemeanor described as “unwanted sexual touching and fondling,” she said. It is punishable with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, Guimond said.
“Sexual assault, in general, is penetration of a bodily cavity by a sexual organ or an object,” she said. A sexual assault is a felony crime that can range from class I to class X, with punishments of four to 15 years or six to 30 years, she said.