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Officials urge caution after Esplanade sexual assaults

State and local officials are urging people to use caution when venturing on the Esplanade, particularly at night, in light of multiple sexual assaults and robberies that have occurred in the popular park along the banks of the Charles River.

State and Boston police and prosecutors from Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office have connected at least four sexual assaults to one man, who has not yet been identified and is still at large. Those assaults occurred several years ago, most recently in 2009.

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The man was described by victims in the four assaults as a clean-shaven African-American man in his mid-20s or 30s, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet10, with a medium build. Police also released a sketch of his face composed with the help of the victims.

“The linked assaults took place primarily on weekends in June and July, so we wanted to get this message out as we head into the first full weekend of June,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Conley.

The four unsolved attacks, committed while the victims were walking alone at night or in the early morning in park areas in Greater Boston, included:

•A woman assaulted near Joe Moakley Park in South Boston at about 3 a.m. on July 29, 2006.

•A woman assaulted near the Massachusetts Avenue bridge shortly after 11 p.m. on June 16, 2007.

•A woman robbed and assaulted near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade at about 3:30 a.m. on July 29, 2007.

•A woman assaulted near the Massachusetts Avenue footbridge shortly after midnight on July 14, 2009.

Joggers, cyclists, and pedestrians are urged to travel in groups, avoid one-on-one contact with strangers, and to seek help if isolated by a stranger.

“We want people to enjoy everything Boston has to offer, but we want you to do it safely,” Conley said in a statement.

Officials are urging anyone with information related to the attacks to contact police.

“I encourage people to come out and enjoy this beautiful city,’’ Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said in a statement. “We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and apprehend this assailant. Public safety is and remains my top priority.”

Catalina Gaitan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.
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