Sexual Assault Sends Ripple of Fear Throughout Neighborhood

The sexual assault near Garden Court and Fleet Street of a woman returning home early Sunday morning is being investigated by the police – who have increased patrols in the neighborhood to allay rising fears.

Despite being Boston’s safest neighborhood, the North End has suffered from a long string of sexual assaults during the past decade, with a series of them in recent years leaving police to wonder whether or not they are all connected or are the work of different men.

All the assaults have been on women by men and have occurred for the most part, early in the morning.

To date, no one has been hurt physically, with the sexual assaults taking the form of men physically trying to force themselves on women, groping them or touching them indiscriminately until the women break away from them and run off – with the assailants disappearing into the early morning.

This most recent sexual assault took place at 2:30 a.m. near to Garden and Fleet Street.

A woman told police she was approached by a man who started talking to her. He apparently told her he wanted to come into her home.

When she refused, she told police the man attacked her and sexually assaulted her before running off toward Fleet Street.

Boston police reported that the man reached out and touched the woman inappropriately.

The woman described her assailant as 5-foot-6, 150 pounds. She said he was wearing a blue pin striped shirt and khaki pants. She also described him, police said, as a lighter skin Hispanic man with gelled back hair.

Police have again cautioned women returning home late at night in the North End to use discretion and caution.

“It is the shame of shames that these types of things happen here,” said State Representative Aaron Michlewitz during an interview Sunday afternoon. “After all, the North End is about the safest place in the city – and so these sexual attacks are made all the more unusual.”

Boston City Councillor Sal LaMattina.

“I know how hard the police are working to put an end to these sexual assaults. Thank God no one has been physically hurt. Everyone needs to be very aware in the early morning hours,” he added.

The last sexual assault reported in the neighborhood took place last August. A woman fought off an attacker on Salem Street.

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