Police said a woman was groped while jogging on Sligo Creek Trail on Monday, an incident that has prompted law enforcement to remind trail users to take extra precautions as the weather gets warmer.
A woman was jogging on the trail, between Maple Avenue and Piney Branch Road, at around 7 a.m. Monday, when a stranger grabbed her rear end as she passed by, then took off in another direction, police said.
As of Thursday, police had not found the culprit.
Maryland-National Capital Park Police Lt. Rick Pelicano said they’ve increased their presence in the area, upping the number of civilian patrols, rangers and patrols on bike, horses and motorcycles.
Pelicano said police do not have a detailed description of the man, whose face was partially concealed by a blue hoodie. The man was described in a news release as “stocky,” approximately 5-foot-10 and wearing black sweat pants.
Sligo Creek Trail is one of the bigger trail systems in Montgomery County and weaves into a portion of Prince George’s County, Pelicano said.
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission maintains hundreds of trails in Montgomery County.
In Montgomery, the paved trail connects to the southern edge of Wheaton Regional Park and follows the Sligo Creek Stream Valley. It follows Sligo Creek Parkway at University Boulevard in Wheaton and extends south all of the way to New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park.
Pelicano is advising trail users to take extra precautions, like varying their route and letting someone else know where they’re going.
Pelicano said these types of assaults are more common when the weather gets warmer.
“This time of year, more and more people are using the trails,” Pelicano said.
U.S. Park Police on Monday released a sketch of a male suspected of a sex assault in Northwest Washington.
In that incident, a female was walking near the Georgetown Waterfront at around 9 p.m. on April 1 when she was accosted from behind and forcefully taken through an area near the Capital Crescent Trail. She was sexually assaulted in Glover Archbold Park, U.S. Park Police said in a news release.
Pelicano said no other incidents had been reported on trails maintained by N-MCPPC.
Although Montgomery County is largely urban, Pelicano said, many trails have large swaths of forested areas, making them feel remote.
“It’s good to know where you are in relation to a cross street, in case of an emergency” Pelicano said.
He also offered the following tips:
• Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas. Use well-lit and traveled areas.
• Avoid walking alone with a music player and earphones, which blocks out the sound of people approaching from behind. Consider using only one side of the earphones.
• Dress in clothes and shoes that will not hamper movement.
• Be alert and aware of surroundings at all times.
• Report suspicious activity to park police at 301-949-8010.