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University of Utah Police Investigating Attempted Sexual Assault on Campus

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As spring continues to try and leave winter behind, and flowers start to bloom, it’s tough to imagine another campus with better scenery than the University of Utah.

“It’s a beautiful place where we all live,” said Mark Veatupu.

It’s been almost three years since Mark Veatupu started working for the University of Utah campus police department.

“This is a safe campus. It’s a safe city,” he said.

However, every now and then, something happens that isn’t so safe.

“It’s upsetting,” said Sgt. Veatupu. “I try to do my best to serve and protect the community and it’s unfortunate when these types of crimes happen.”

One of those crimes was reported early Saturday morning.

A woman was walking just south of Rice-Eccles Stadium on campus at about 1 a.m., when she said a man tried to sexually assault her.

“She’s currently being evaluated at a local hospital and accompanied by the departments victim advocate,” said Sgt. Veatupu.

Police say the description of the man provided by the woman is an adult white man with short dark hair, jeans and a dark jacket.

The woman told police he left in a dark blue extended cab Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

“If anybody has information on this man, we would like them to call us,” said Sgt. Veatupu.

Campus police detectives are also working on a similar case from three weeks ago.

Another woman says she was sexually assaulted near the library.

At the time, campus police said they were going to wait “two sleep cycles” before interviewing the woman to get more information.

However, details on that case, including a suspect description, are still being sorted out.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation. I don’t have any information to update you at this time,” said Sgt. Veatupu.

Students walking on campus this afternoon say they are aware of the two cases, but they’re not overly concerned for their safety.

“I don’t feel like I ever have the need to feel like I need to be worried,” said Lisa Peck. “I also work up at the business school and some of the police officers came up and taught us a self-defense class and that helps as well.”

“I think it’s relatively safe on campus as well,” said Katherine Somers. “I don’t usually feel afraid, but I’m also not here at night, either.”

Both of these cases happened at night.

It’s a reminder for students, that if they feel unsafe walking for any reason, they can call campus police at 801-585-2677 for a safety escort.

“Yes, by all means, call us,” said Sgt. Veatupu. “We have a courtesy safety escort that we provide at all hours of the day 24/7. An officer or a police officer will escort you anywhere on campus.”

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