Sixth sexual assault reported near Ohio University campus

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Athens and Ohio University police are now investigating at a total of six reports of sexual assault since classes began.

On the College Green Monday, students said they're taking personal safety seriously.

Freshman Brooke Cremeans said when it gets dark she and her friends walk in a group of four.

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"That way there is a pack mentality to stay safer," said Cremeans.

Senior Adam Maslowski said he's keeping a closer eye on his younger sister who also attends the university.

"I make sure she has pepper spray. She has a device that you pull and it makes a siren noise," said Maslowski.

The series of sexual assaults began on August 25, when a woman told police she was walking home from Mill Street when a man grabbed her, forced her inside a residence hall, and raped her.

Last Wednesday, police in Athens learned of a second attack that same day.

Police said they were notified by a mandatory reporter that a woman was sexually assaulted by a man known to her on the east side of the city.

Ohio University Police said at about 1 a.m. on September 2, a woman told police she was walking home from Mill Street with a group of acquaintances when she was forced into a vehicle, driven to Wray House Residence Hall, and sexually assaulted in her dorm room.

Athens police are investigating another report of a sexual assault later that same day that occurred off campus.

Police said both women in the September 2nd assaults provided a similar description of their attacker, but police said it's too early in the investigation to say with certainty that the assaults are connected.

Ohio University police received another sexual assault report last Wednesday when a student said she was forced by a man known to her to engage in a sexual act without giving consent.

The sexual assault reported to Athens police on Saturday is the sixth report since classes began.

CrimeTracker 10 compared annual safety reports which show Ohio University reported 20 rapes in all of 2015. That number jumped to 32 reports the following year. Stalking reports are also on the rise.

Police received 8 reports in 2015 compared to 24 reports in 2016. The number of reports for 2017 should be available by the end of the month.

It's difficult to say whether the number of assaults is increasing, or whether the numbers reflect more survivors willing to come forward and report the crime to police.

In 2016, Ohio University created the Survivor Advocacy Program which provides confidential support to students who are survivors of sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, or any form of interpersonal violence.