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Police investigating series of sexual assaults

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A rape reported Saturday at a College Park apartment complex is the latest in a string of sexual assaults being investigated by Clayton County police.

A woman reported being raped at the Woods Apartments in College Park, according to Officer Kevin Hughes, a Clayton County Police Department spokesman.

Hughes said he could not release further details about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.

Seven sexual assaults have been reported at apartment complexes in Morrow, Jonesboro, Stockbridge and College Park over the past eight months, according to Hughes. In two of those incidents, the victims were raped, Hughes said.

Hughes said police are not sure whether the incidents are linked.

"We can't say for sure because various descriptions have been given out by the different victims," Hughes said. "But some of the MOs [methods of operation] are the same," he said.

Hughes said in more than one of the attacks, the suspect committed a lewd act then made the victims "clean themselves up" before he left. He said Monday he could not release a description of the suspect or suspects.

The previous rape was reported in Jonesboro, in April, according to Hughes.

"In some of the instances there was no sign of forced entry," Hughes said.

Police are encouraging area apartment tenants to be make sure their homes are secure.

"The main thing is to make sure that doors and windows are locked, and be more aware of your surroundings when entering and exiting buildings," Hughes said. "Always notify the police if you see any suspicious activity."

Hughes said police are not calling the series of sexual assaults the work of a serial rapist, because only two rapes have been reported to county police as having occurred at apartment complexes in the past eight months. However, he said police are investigating similarities among some of the assaults.

All of the assaults occurred at apartment complexes during late-night or early-morning hours, according to Hughes. He said all of the assaults were committed by a male assailant, and that all of the victims were female.

The attacker was carrying a handgun in some of the assaults, Hughes said.

"We're going to start increasing patrols at apartment complexes," he said.

Anyone with information regarding the series of assaults is asked to contact Clayton County Police at (770) 477-3786.