HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY (FOX19) - The Northern Kentucky University Police Department has issued a crime alert after a female student had to fight off a sexual assault suspect.
Police say the incident happened in 'Lot I' on campus on Feb. 15.
According to the alert, the student reported a man approached her around 8 p.m. as she was walking to her car from Steely Library. She told police the man covered her mouth and eyes with his hand and began putting his hand up her shirt.
"She struck the assailant in a vulnerable area and that gave her the opportunity to run away," said NKU Police Chief Jason Willis.
Chief Willis said the victim punched the man in the face, ran to her car, and drove to her dorm.
Campus police have stepped up patrols and sent a crime alert to students.
"It makes me nervous because this is campus puts itself off to be a real safe place," said Carol Bruzina, a freshman at NKU.
Two days after the assault, police are considering "downgrading" the sexual assault.
Chief Willis said after several interviews with the victim, police believe it's unclear if the suspect was actually trying to assault the victim.
"We're unsure at this time of the exact motivation of the assailant," said Chief Willis. "It's hard to say if it was sexual in this nature, the motivation, but we're definitely looking into it."
Chief Willis believes the suspect may have been trying to pull a prank on someone the suspect thought he knew.
"If it was a joke, he needs to come forward," said Stephen Garrett, a freshman at NKU. "But as he hasn't come forward and the seriousness of what he did, I really don't think it was a joke."
"She needs to do everything in her power to make sure this person is caught," said Courtney Bremenkamp, a student at NKU. "Because if he's not and he got away with it, of course he's going to try to do it again and something more serious could happen."
The suspect is described as a thin, white male, is 6'1" and smelled heavily of cigarette smoke.
NKU Police are still investigating the incident. Anyone with information should call them at 859-572-5500.