Confusion about UW attack leaves students, faculty in the dark

SEATTLE -- It's been four days since a University of Washington graduate student was attacked on campus, and police still haven't put out an official warning to students and faculty members.

That's because it wasn't until Monday afternoon that everyone could agree where the attack actually happened.

University of Washington police say they don't hesitate to put out alerts about crimes on campus, but they didn't have confirmation that a crime happened on campus until Monday.

The victim, a 24-year old grad student, said she was attacked near the university's School of Nursing last week.

"He got up and smashed my head down and said, 'I'll find you,' and then ran off," the victim said. She doesn't want to be identified because she fears she'll be targeted again.

Andrea Larson is friends with the victim and said she's upset that police haven't issued any alerts to warn others about the attacker, who has yet to be apprehended.

"I think people who are out walking at night -- and it gets dark here early -- should be aware that there was a man that basically tried to kidnap my friend," Larson said.

Police say confusion about the location of the attack kept them from acting.

"The victim told us that it occurred at Seattle Central (Community College), so there would be no reason for UW to be involved in this," said Det. Mark Jamieson with the Seattle Police Department.

But the victim, who is new to the area, said she meant that as a geographical location and not the community college.

"The girl who reported it knows where it happened," Larson said.

Seattle police say when they learned on Friday that the attack actually happened on campus, they alerted UW police. But they couldn't reach the victim, and campus police were still unsure about the crime as late as Monday.

"I believe the incident occurred in the area of Seattle Central Community College, and that's why UW didn't put alert on the information until it becomes verified," said UW police commander Steve Rittereiser.

Seattle police say the victim was so traumatized after the attack that she drove around and ended up near the Seattle Central campus, which led to the initial confusion.

UW police are now reading the revised police report and will consider putting out an alert.