The third disturbing sexual assault in as many weeks at the University of British Columbia campus has police asking for the public’s help identifying a suspect.

A 17-year-old girl was walking alone in the 2500-block of West Mall Friday night when a man emerged from a wooded area and approached her, according to University RCMP spokesman Sgt. Drew Grainger.

The man put his hands around the girl’s hips and tried to drag her into the woods, ripping at clothing she was wearing under her skirt, Grainger said.

According to police, a struggle ensued and the girl broke free. As she screamed for help, the suspect ran away.

At some point the suspect punched the teen in the face, giving her a black eye, Grainger said. She needed minor first aid for her injuries.

Mounties are now looking for a Caucasian man in his late 20s to early 30s. He’s about six-foot-two with a thin build and short, cropped hair.

The suspect was reportedly wearing blue jeans and a dark hoodie, and may have spoken in an American accent.

Police are concerned as it is the third similar attack in three weeks on the campus.

On Sept. 28, a 19-year-old student was sexually assaulted on Biological Sciences Road at around 2:45 a.m.

An unknown man approached from behind, wrapping an arm around her waist and trying to drag her into a garden area. With another hand, the suspect reached under her skirt and groped her genitalia, police said.

The victim screamed and fought back until the attacker released her and ran away.

Another assault occurred in the early hours of Oct. 13, when a 20-year-old woman was attacked as she returned home to her apartment.

A man emerged from under a stairwell in the 2700-block of Fairview Avenue and attacked her while trying to remove her clothing and put his hand up her skirt.

Like the other victims, the woman screamed and struggled, causing the suspect to flee. Police have acknowledged similarities between those attacks.

“This assault series has become University RCMP Detachment’s top priority,” Grainger said in a news release. “The RCMP would also like to reinforce the continued strong message for all citizens who walk through the campus at night to exercise every precaution to ensure their own personal safety.”

Anyone with information about the alleged assault is asked to call police at 604-224-1322 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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