THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Woman is attacked near T station

Suspect may have assaulted others

By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / November 18, 2011

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A woman was attacked early yesterday near Porter Square in Cambridge, and police were investigating the possibility that the suspect is the same person responsible for a wave of sexual assaults on women since September.

Police said the 22-year-old woman was walking from the square’s MBTA station about 1:30 a.m. when she was accosted from behind by a man on Highland Avenue in Somerville. She screamed and fought back - prompting the man to flee toward Davis Square.

Somerville Deputy Police Chief Paul Upton said the suspect in yesterday’s attack wore a ski mask with “no visible eye cutouts’’ and all-black clothing.

He said the attack had some similarities to at least six other assaults on women walking in Somerville and Medford since September.

Officers from Medford, Somerville, MBTA Transit Police, Cambridge, and Harvard and Tufts universities are sharing information in the search for the man. Upton said more than one person could be responsible for the assaults.

However, he said, several victims have provided the same general description of the attacker who finds his victims near Porter Square.

Upton said the suspect, described as between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8, so far has hidden his race. “We don’t know if he is black or white or Hispanic,’’ he said. “We just don’t know.’’

Police advised women who may be walking alone to take several “common-sense safety precautions.’’ They include:

- Walk on well-lighted routes whenever possible.

- Avoid wearing headphones or earbuds, and refrain from listening to loud music so that you are aware of your surroundings at all times.

- Keep your cellphone accessible and avoid distracting phone calls.

- If you think that someone is following you, try to get to a lighted area with other people.

- Trust your instincts and avoid whatever feels to you like it could be a potentially dangerous situation or environment.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.


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