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Woman assaulted while jogging in Baylands

Original post made on Jun 3, 2013

A woman in her 30s was assaulted as she jogged along the Bay Trail on Sunday morning when a man jumped on her back and groped her sexually over her clothing before she was able to push him away, according to police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 3, 2013, 12:48 PM

Comments (33)

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Posted by Protect
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Scarey. Good thing for the cyclists!


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Perhaps if the justice system really came down hard on these people who think they can attack others, esp. women, then they might think twice before attempting such a brutal act. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Marianna
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

This is very, very bad and I urge police to make a stand to catch these criminals and deter crime in the Baylands.
The Baylands are an asset to Palo Altans, and women and children should feel safe to exercise and enjoy the nature there. I am very concerned.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

What's next, pitchforks and torches and mob justice?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Well, golly, the Baylands are an asset to people outside of Palo Alto, too. Non-Palo Alto women and children should feel safe. The best way to feel safe, whether or not you live in Calif? Take a dog or exercise buddy with you to outwit the creeps.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Be careful taking a dog to the Baylands. They are prohibited some places. I saw a group with a dog off-leash today as I was riding my bike there, and I was nervous about it.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

It's pretty simple, Donald. You take the dog *on leash* and only go where the signs indicate you're allowed to walk w/a dog. Too bad not everyone does it that way! Thank you for the warning - dealing w/off leash dogs when yours is leashed can be a problem. But for preventing a mugging, rape or other assault, having a dog *on leash* is excellent. For those who can't or won't, take a handheld boat horn - better than pepper spray w/the wind.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

>Well, golly, the Baylands are an asset to people outside of Palo Alto, too. Non-Palo Alto women and children should feel safe. The best way to feel safe, whether or not you live in Calif? Take a dog or exercise buddy with you to outwit the creeps.

@Hmmm: I pretty much agree with you, although I would not rely on a horn...pepper spray and a horn and a cell phone are more effective. Yes, a dog on a leash, if it a serious attack dog, can also work. I have long thought that women do not know how vulnerable they are in Palo Alto/EPA and environs...there is a lot of denial going around.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Off-leash dogs hurt more innocent people than they help. Please don't do it, especially in nature preserves where they also destroy the natural environment.

The PAPD used to use bicycle patrols in pedestrian-friendly areas. Do they still do that? That would be an ideal way to patrol the baylands area, as well as many narrow paths that parks that cannot be watched from patrol cars.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Craig - the recommendation against pepper spray is due to the high winds & most people wouldn't be adept enough or able to get close enough to an assailant to mitigate the effects of wind. I had to use pepper spray when a dig attached mine on a bay trail & the wind made it very, very difficult to use effectively. If I hadn't just taken a self-defense course I would've had a much harder time of it! But a hand held boat horn, recommended for use in a windy area, will scare away most amateurs because it's very loud. And if course, you can always hit someone w/it. I heard one used when a hiker fell & was injured - he used it to attract attention & that's what it did!

This loser was working his way up to the assault by his earlier stalking - it does not bode well at all.


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Posted by Mike from midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

I think this story is a little suspect. If you read the article carefully the women claimed that she was jogging, and stopped several times. Did the "assaliant" jog/run after her, or did he walk after her? Plus who was the reporting party? Was it the "victim", witness or these "bicyclist" heroes. Obviously I'm making assumptions without knowing all the details, but at face value the report sounds bogus to me. I would really love to listen to the 911 / dispatch tape to here the victims demeanor when she called papd.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

It is very sad that it has come down to that, but women should not jog or walk alone in areas that are isolated and allows assailants to trail them and attack them without others noticing. Jogging in the Baylands is one of those places. The victim was very fortunate that the cyclists happened to be in the area.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hey Mike - what do you say about the fact thst there were witnesses AND he stalked another woman in the same locale just prior to the attack? The only thing suspect is the suspect - & your interpretation. But maybe you think it was a conspiracy to create some drama?


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

Wow, Mike, I can't believe how suspicious you are of the woman who was attacked. Kinda strange, really.


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Posted by Raymond
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

@ Big Al; the 'Justice System' can not fix crazy. This is more about mental health and access to care and diagnoses.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

@Mike, I have to trust that the police department has become very experienced at sorting out bogus reports. In this case the article does indicate another woman saw the same or very similar guy acting the same way on the same trail earlier that day.

But like you, I tend to recall several fabricated reports that broke as headline local stories -- Web Link -- and remember the guy in the foothills attacked by a mountain lion? -- Web Link


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

It seems strange that the cyclists didn't stay with the woman until the police arrived. Very inconsiderate of them. Also the police needed to interview them as witnesses.


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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Why do I NOT have any sympathy for these women who continue to walk/run alone, especially when they HAVE BEEN TOLD THOUSANDS OF TIMES NOT to walk/run alone?!? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I go to the Bayland to walk or run regularly ... there is no security and it make me angry at Palo Alto for neglecting this area.

Patrol it, secure it or close it off to Palo Alto residents and see what they think about that?

I have been going on there for over 20 years more or less and I have seen a ranger maybe 4 times. A little more frequently I see workers or some sort and there are usually other people around, but sometimes not.

The population density, crime statistics and the times we live make it necessary for Palo Alto to patrol these areas. What is needed is not much more than someone trustworthy and safe to be driving a golf cart back and forth along the trails smiling at people.

It would be nice if they had the ability to ticket people for not having their dogs on a leash or having their dogs on a leash 20 feet long.

GET REAL PALO ALTO, provide for the safety of your citizens when they are out in the Baylands, and start immediately.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Crescent Park Anon - how do you know this woman was a PA resident?


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Posted by Alan Z
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

A lot of weird comments on this. People suspecting a false report, despite there being corroboration by other witnesses. I walk occassionally on Baylands trail at San Antonio. I would like to think any of these trails would be safe for women at 11am in the morning. It isn't practical to have regular police patrol public trails (although nice to see some occasional presence as a deterrent), and I think that it is reasonable to be able to use the trail in the middle of day, man or woman, without fear. I think a woman should be somewhat careful and use it when it is not totally empty. I do question when I read about women jogging by themselves very early or after dark in areas that are isolated. I do think this lacks common sense. Otherwise, like in this case, nothing she did was wrong. And I don't get why the bicyclists took off. Shows a real lack of caring or concern for others. Good forbid it should interrupt their bike ride.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Pearl -- are you really suggesting that women should not run or walk alone? Your "blame the victim" comment is absurd.

Two women I know were attacked on the street while walking 100 feet from their home...Do you think it was their fault? Women have been attacked in supermarket and shopping center parking lots. Women have been attacked on University Ave.

Must women stay inside to be safe? Oh Oh that won't work -- we have criminals who break into houses and rape sleeping women.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Police sketch update -- that's some pair of earrings.


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Posted by Alice
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff,]


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I think dogs should be banned from the Baylands.

Since there is no security people often take their leashes of their dogs, or have multiple dogs on leashes so long they could do nothing in case of an incident.

People can often be thoughtless and inconsiderate. We do not know if someone's dog is a loveable mutt that would not hurt anyone, so when he comes lunging at us or giving us snarling looks it makes the average person nervous ... and we are often too nervous to say anything about it because like people these days dogs seem just as unpredictable if they get the wrong vibe.

I've seem people out there in the last week that have a gigantic Pit Bull who seem to get a big charge out of seeing people walk out of their way or look nervous around them. This needs to end.

It's past time for Palo Alto to manage the BayLands responsibly and that includes making sure it is safe for people who go out there, alone or not.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

> Crescent Park Anon - how do you know this woman was a PA resident?

Hmmm, what does it matter? Always ready to pounce with the innuendo aren't you?


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Alan Z.
> It isn't practical to have regular police patrol public trails

I don't see why not. Clearly someone cannot be everywhere at once, but as I mentioned above there could be a ranger or monitor on bicycle or maybe an electric bike to ride up and back, it would be a job with great exercise benefits. They would just need a walkie or cellphone to contact the police. We do not need armed guards, but we do need someone out there. The city should be responsible for crime committed in these areas, Mountain View or Palo Alto.

Put it to the voters like this ... either the city allocates an appropriate monitor team or they close these areas down ... the people will come through ... meaning the cities will have to. I am sick of cities shirking their responsibilities so they can throw money away on big shot consultants that often are not even needed.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I gotta say that police sketch is great, if it resembles the perpetrator.
It's pretty exact, I think I would recognize that person if I saw them, and anyone else would too, if they saw or knew them. Congratulations for getting that out so fast, good job Police Artist or however they do this!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Uh, Crescent Park Anon - no innuendo - I'm responding to your exact words re Palo Alto residents.
Musical - I thought the same thing about the earrings. He looks pretty young, so here's hoping that he's a total newbie at assault & gets caught!

Pearl - you should be ashamed of yourself. Since the majority of women who experience sex crimes know the assaulter & the crime happens indoors, your solution doesn't work. Women need to take precautions, espec. if they're alone. We need to focus on what the *perpetrators* are doing, as they're the criminals.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Hmmm - or maybe he'll pick on the wrong woman.


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Posted by Steve Frake
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by hcc2009
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

hcc2009 is a registered user.

Actually? Re pitchforks and torches? They are WAY overdue. It's time for law abiding people to take back the streets.

The burden should not be on the victim to bring a dog. What a ridiculous idea. Most dogs that are nice enough to take into public areas with you will not protect you. Plus dogs are expensive and time consuming. A woman has a right to feel safe WITHOUT a dog. Lordy.


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