BEDFORD, N.Y. - The Bedford Police Department is investigating a report of a sexual assault of an 18-year-old woman that occurred on the nature trails behind St. Matthew's Episcopal Church.
Around 5 p.m. Thursday, the woman was walking her dog through the 25-acre, church-owned property known as Ketchum Preserve, when the suspect accosted her, police said.
Bedford Police Lieutenant Jeff Dickan said he is not aware of any previous incidents that have occurred on the nature trails behind the church, although he notes the preserve is a very secluded area.
He said police are considering the possibility that the suspect may repeat the offense, or has done so already. "We don't necessarily know if this was an isolated incident or not. So in any of these isolated areas, we're asking people to walk with a friend," he said.
Dickan said that people should also remain aware of their surroundings when they are walking in a secluded area: this means acknowledging the risks of using iPhones, iPods or earbuds.
"We seem to spend a lot of time moving around in the world without really knowing what's around us, so being aware of your surroundings and who's around you is definitely important," Dickan said.
Police describe the possible suspect as a white male about 50 years old, standing 6 feet 2 inches tall, about 220 to 230 pounds, with thick eyebrows, a full, well-groomed beard and salt-and-pepper-colored hair. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, light jeans and dark shoes, according to police.
The victim was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital after the incident, police said.
Any person who has information about the suspect is encouraged to contact the Bedford Police Department Detective Bureau.