Police in Iowa City are hoping that the arrest of a man this summer will bring an end to a rash of attempted sexual assaults on or near the University of Iowa campus. Officers arrested 33-year-old Jonathon Ryan Schiefer on the night of July 19th for trespassing.
The Williamsburg man was later charged with burglary and third-degree sexual abuse for an incident in April. Police say DNA evidence connected Schiefer to an attack on a 21-year-old female. Sergeant Troy Kelsay says the department has not received a report of a stranger attacking a woman since that incident.
"To my knowledge, we haven’t taken any reports of attacks on women that – in any way, shape or form – fit that profile of the solitary female walking alone when she’s suddenly rushed upon by an unknown male assailant who gropes her or knocks her down and gropes her and then flees," Kelsay said.
Investigators say Schiefer matches the description of the attacker involved in at least 30 attempted sexual assaults in Iowa City last year. However, Kelsay says they may never know if Schiefer was responsible for those crimes.
"It’s really easier to eliminate somebody as a suspect than to necessarily establish evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that they were a suspect," Kelsay said. He says investigators are still trying to determine where Schiefer was at the time of the other attacks and if he could face more charges.
A college-age woman reported being attacked by two men in an Iowa City alley this month. However, Kelsay says that incident was different than the string of attacks last year. Kelsay says the woman attacked on September 7th had "become acquainted" with the men earlier that evening. She was able to fight them off and escape. Schiefer is scheduled to go on trial December 8th.