(Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB)

Athens Police Discourage Social Media in Serial Offender Investigation

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The investigation into a suspect being classified as a “serial” sexual offender is ongoing, but police are asking the public to refrain from using social media to obtain or release information.

Suspect SketchSince designating the suspect as a serial offender and linking  three sexual assaults reported in the uptown Athens area, police say they’ve received more than 75 tips related to the case, a news release stated.

The cases were reported to have occurred on June 11, 2006, June 20, 2015, and Dec. 12, 2015, all of which were matched using DNA evidence. Police say the assaults occurred under “similar circumstances,” with the female victims walking home alone from the uptown area early in the morning.

The suspect is described as a white male in his late-20s to early-30s, 5’8” to 5’9”, and he weighs approximately 160 lbs.

“The investigation into this case, and related cases, is ongoing, and we are confident we will capture and bring to justice this serial offender,” Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle stated in the release.

Athens and Ohio University’s police departments have increased foot patrol presence in the uptown area and “other locations of concern,” according to the release.

“The city encourages everyone, especially students, to stay alert and be upstanding and active bystanders.”

At a press conference last month, Pyle asked that anyone that was in the uptown area during the late hours of Dec. 11 and early morning hours of Dec. 12 who took photos while uptown to provide the photos to the police. But in the most recent news release, the use of social media regarding “tips and potential perpetrator accusations.”

“Misinformation can be harmful to the investigation, slander innocent people and potentially harm the victims further,” the release stated. “We ask that you check the official information at the City of Athens website or the City of Athens Police Department Facebook page.”



The release also gave information for the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, available within Athens, Meigs, Perry, Vinton, Hocking, Gallia and Morgan counties. The program can be reached at (740) 591-4266.