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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Police investigating assaults with possible ‘sexual motivation’ around Manito Park

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 25, 2022

Two females reported being assaulted by a man in the area of the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park in recent days, and Spokane police announced an arrest in the case Thursday.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Two females reported being assaulted by a man in the area of the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park in recent days, and Spokane police announced an arrest in the case Thursday. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Two women were assaulted in the area of Manito Park last week by an unknown suspect with a possible “sexual motivation,” police said.

The incidents occurred within hours of each other on Thursday morning. Neither victim was physically injured, according to police.

“The nature of the attack appears that there is some sexual motivation to it,” Spokane police Cpl. Nick Briggs said.

Police said they are withholding details of the assaults while the investigation is ongoing, and did not give a description of the suspect or suspects.

The reports drew comments on Nextdoor, a social networking service for neighborhoods, from concerned Manito Park users and others.

One woman wondered about the extent of the attacks and said they were “super scary.” Others called the reported attacks “terrible” and “awful.”

Another person wrote he would keep an eye out during his morning runs at the park.

Briggs said random attacks of this type are rare in Spokane, and there is no reason to specifically avoid the area. With that said, he suggested people take basic safety precautions, like being an “active observer,” and limiting the number of distractions – like headphones – while out and about.

“Situational awareness is huge,” Briggs said.

Police also recommend going out with a buddy when possible and, if it’s not, telling someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

The Special Victims Unit is leading the investigation.

The alleged Manito Park attacks come on the heels of several people reporting a naked man jogging in the Minnehaha Park area last month and earlier in the year. It’s unclear whether the incidents are related.

The naked man was first seen last summer in the Beacon Hill and Minnehaha Park areas, according to the sheriff’s office.

One woman noticed the man jogging nude except for running shoes, the sheriff’s office said.

In December, the woman was running hill repeats before sunrise wearing a headlamp when she saw a man running wearing just arm sleeves, shoes and a headlamp.

She passed the man several times while doing her hill repeats, and the sheriff’s office said she reported that each time his actions became more sexual in nature.

Another person recently reported similar activity in the area.

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