Alleged USC Groper Arrested, but Now UCLA Has One

Alleged USC Groper Arrested, but Now UCLA Has One
Photo of USC by Michael Locke/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

College women these days not only have to deal with the stress of academic life, they also have to fend off beer-toting frat boys and, lately, defend themselves against butt-grabbing suspects around L.A. campuses.

It's a jungle out there, even near the ivy-covered halls of local academia.

A string of sexual batteries that broke this winter and spring near USC might be over. The Los Angeles Police Department announced this week that 21-year-old Javier Cardoza has been arrested in connection with those crimes.

Cops allege he attacked 12 victims, most if not all students, in the University Park area since mid-February. According to an LAPD statement, written with mangled grammar:

 ... There had been a series of sexual battery cases reported in the University Park community in which the suspect would approach victims from behind and either slapped or grabbed the victim’s buttocks area and then immediately fled the area.  

The department worked with USC's Department of Public Safety to send out warnings about the perv. Last month authorities rounded up neighborhood Latino kids, but victims did not point anyone out. (We wonder if, when an unknown fraternity brother is accused of sexual assault, the authorities round up all the white men on campus they can find.)

This time around, "USC DPS officers spotted Cardoza, who matched the suspect’s description in the area where the crimes previously occurred," the LAPD said.

In one case, USC stated, "a group of four to five ... males riding BMX-style bicycles" grabbed the buttocks of a woman. 

But cops appear confident about Cardoza as their suspect. According to L.A. Sheriff's Department inmate records, he was arrested by the LAPD Pacific division last year for reasons not explained.

This time around, he's behind bars in lieu of $240,000 bail. Anyone with info on Cardoza was asked to call detectives at 323-290-2975.

Meanwhile, crosstown rival UCLA might have a groper of its own on the loose.

UCLA police this week said a man "slapped and squeezed" the buttocks of a woman walking at Gayley and Landfair avenues in Westwood Village.

It happened at 11:25 p.m. Sunday, cops said. The victim, a UCLA student, screamed and the suspect fled south on Gayley "out of sight," according to a UCLA alert.

He was described as a heavy, dark-skinned man, 6 feet tall and clean-shaven, cops said. He has "wide eyes" and short, dark-brown hair, they said. The man was said to be wearing a hoodie and basketball shorts.

Anyone with information on a possible suspect was asked to call 310-825-1491.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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