Crime & Justice

UCLA police seek suspect in 6 sexual assaults

UCLA police were on the lookout today for another sexual assault suspect in five recent crotch-grabbing attacks on female students in the Westwood Village area.

Updated 10:49 a.m.

The most recent assault occurred Tuesday. The crotch-grabbing incidents date back to March 8. All the attacks occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Westwood Plaza between Charles E. Young Drive South and just south of Le Conte Avenue, according to campus police.

The suspect has been described as a Hispanic man, 40 to 60 years old, 5 foot 3 to 6 inches tall, 150 to 180 pounds, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and a pot belly. The suspect "wears various hats," according to police, including a farmer's hat and a baseball cap.

According to police, the suspect appears to purposely wait in the path of female victims who are distracted while using their cell phones, and "as the victim approaches his proximity, he reaches out with his hand and grabs the victim's crotch area."

The crotch-grabber attacks were not believed to be related to a March 31 attack on a different part of campus. A suspect in that case has been arrested and charged.

In that assault, which occurred outside the Covel Commons building, the victim was returning from a party when a man forced her into a wooded area, down to the ground, straddled her and pulled up her dress before abruptly stopping and leaving.

A 25-year-old UCLA student was arrested by campus police last Friday night, April 2, at his dorm room in Delta Terrace hall.

Thaddeus Ryan Staniforth, 25, of Fullerton was charged Tuesday with kidnapping, assault and sexual battery by restraint, all stemming from this alleged attack. Staniforth pleaded not guilty to the charges.

UCLA police have advised students to program their cell phones with the campus police dispatch number – (310) 825-1491.