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Woman assaulted on the job

February 06, 2003

Deepa Bharath

Police are looking for a man they say sexually assaulted a

21-year-old janitorial worker at gunpoint in an office building on

Tuesday night.

The woman was cleaning a restroom in a building in the 1000 block

of Dove Street near John Wayne Airport at about 7:50 p.m. when a man

with a handgun approached her from behind and assaulted her, Newport

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Beach Police Sgt. Steve Shulman said.

The man fled by the time police arrived, he said.

The alleged attacker is described as a man probably in his early

30s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 165 pounds, with curly brown

hair and wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

"He has been seen in the area before, according to some of the

people we've talked to," Shulman said. "But this is the first

incident of this nature we've heard about in this area in the recent

past."

Employees in neighboring office buildings expressed concern on

hearing news of the assault.

Jocelyn Delaney, who works in a doctor's office nearby, said she

believed the area was "relatively very low crime."

"I'm shocked because I never expected anything like this to happen

here," she said. "We work late hours in our office, and most of us

are women. I'm really concerned."

Delaney said she and her colleagues have never thought twice about

going to the parking lot by themselves after working hours.

"But it's going to be different from now on," she said.

There is also widespread fear in the area because the attacker is

still at large, said Edie Pool, who works with a lobbyist across the

street from the building.

"Our managers are making us leave earlier than we used to," she

said. "We had a girl today who wanted to work late today to make up

some hours, but our manager told her she had to leave early."

Shulman said area employees, especially women, must remain on

guard.

"They should work in teams and need to know who is authorized to

work in their building," he said. "They should also be more watchful

about who they let into the building and propping doors open."

Anyone with information about Tuesday night's incident is asked to

call Newport Beach Police detectives at (949) 644-3790.

* DEEPA BHARATH covers public safety and courts. She may be

reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

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