Woman attacked while biking on popular trail, punched man in groin to get away

WHITAKER, Pa. — Police in Whitaker and neighboring communities are warning people to be on alert after a woman was attacked while riding her bike.

Police told Channel 11 News this happened just before 5 p.m. Tuesday on the Great Allegheny Passage under the Rankin Bridge.

A man attacked the woman from behind and attempted to rape her, according to police. She was taken to an area hospital with injuries.

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Police said she was riding her bike when the man -- who has not yet been identified -- came up from behind and threw her to the ground. The attacker then jumped on top of the woman, exposed himself and tried to pull her sweatpants down.

According to investigators, the woman punched the man several times in the groin and was able to break free.

Other bicyclists stopped to help the woman and chased after her attacker, but they could not catch him, police said.


Whitaker police, along with neighboring agencies, searched along the trail for the man, while drones from West Mifflin searched overhead. The officers combed the area for two hours, but they were not been able to find him.

The attacker is described as a black man in his late 20s or early 30s with a medium build. He is around 5 feet, 10 inches tall with shot hair on the sides of his head and no facial hair. Witnesses described him as having thin lips and a thin nose. Police said he didn't have a shirt on and was wearing dirty blue jeans rolled up at the ankle and had brown loafer-style shoes that were dirty. According to police, he may have a speech impediment or be nonverbal.

Police said the victim kicked him repeatedly in the chest, so it is likely he will have bruises or abrasions.

Businesses in the area are familiar with a man matching the above description and told police he walked from Mifflin Street toward the Waterfront with no shirt on.

Police said the victim was released from the hospital.

Allegheny County police are now handling the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the department's tip line at 1-833-255-8477. The bicyclists who helped the victim are also asked to call the tip line so their identities can be known to police.