Female student reports being sexually assaulted on Purdue University campus

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Police are now investigating a reported case of sexual battery on the campus of Purdue University.

A female student told police she was leaving the Hicks Undergraduate Library at around 8:45 a.m. Thursday when a man reached under her skirt, grabbed her and took pictures. On Friday afternoon, university officials released surveillance photos of the suspect.

The suspect is described as a man in his early 20s, around 5'9'' with blonde hair. He was last seen leaving the library and heading toward Purdue Memorial Union.

Some students learned of the incident Friday.

"It makes me really sad," said Purdue senior Claire Hornsby. "You think public spaces like this, you would never expect that to happen."

The incident at the library comes just days after a rape was reported at an Indiana University Bloomington dorm.

FOX59 looked into statistics on such incidents at central Indiana schools.

Safety reports reveal there were 33 rape incidents and 27 fondling incidents on Purdue's campus in 2017.

At IU Bloomington, documents show there were 20 rape incidents and six fondling incidents.

The Ball State University was released just this week. Crime statistics for BSU show 38 rapes and 28 fondling incidents there last year.

A spokesperson for Purdue said their counts include reports from campus security authorities who are required to notify police of crimes reported to them by students. But, Purdue University police cannot investigate those CSA reports because they are not reported directly to the agency by the victim.

Students who spoke to FOX59 say the discussion of recent cases on campus can help others feel more comfortable going to police about painful events.

"It does cause people have like something to say about it," Clara Kochjunior said. "Hearing about this makes students feel more inclined to go talk to the police."

Sexual battery is considered a level six felony. If you have any information about the Purdue case, you're asked to contact Purdue University police.