PD: 15-year-old arrested for Cheshire groping

CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — Cheshire police have arrested a juvenile who they say groped a woman Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday, police say a 46-year-old woman was walking in the Strathmore Drive area when a teen came up behind her, allegedly grabbed her shoulders, grabbed her between the legs, then ran away. Chief Neil Dryfe says this is the fifth incident of this nature since May.

“There is a two-and-a-half month gap between the last reported incident and this one. There is no real discernible pattern that we are able to to put to this, other than the location,” said Dryfe. “One of the previous victims reported that she felt the suspect was trying to pull her pants down. That was not the information we got last night, although, it was more trying to restrain the victim last night.”

On Thursday, police say they spoke with the suspect, a 15-year-old juvenile, and his father and received a confession. The teen was arrested and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and second-degree unlawful restraint. He is in the custody of the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention and due in court Friday.

The police chief says these women were not engaged in a high-risk activity. They were running in broad daylight, on the sidewalk in residential areas, there were people around in their homes.

Liz Linehan is a runner and takes extra precautions before stepping out onto the street to exercise.

“You strap on your shoes, you put in your earbuds, you put your hair in a ponytail and you run. And those are the things you really shouldn’t do. Your ear buds make it so you can’t hear what’s around you, the ponytail makes it easy for someone to grab you and pull you. A low bun keeps your hair off of your face and off of your neck to help keep you cool, but it will still keep you safe,” said Linehan.

In a recent Runner’s World survey:

– 43 percent of women reported harassment while running
– 58 percent of women under 30 reported harassment
– 30-35 percent of women reported being abused

The Town of Cheshire also offers free self-defense classes at Ralph Bergamo’s gym. He says not only does it prepare women for an attack, but gives them more confidence. The next free class is this Saturday.

“So it becomes more instinctive, more empowering and we have been getting successful feedback on it,” said Bergamo.

Anyone with information on suspicious behavior is asked to call police at (203)271-5534.