Man arrested after reported sexual assault inside Minneapolis City Hall bathroom
Minneapolis police say they arrested a man after a reported sexual assault inside Minneapolis City Hall Monday morning.
The suspect, Jeffery Thomas Fossum, 34, was gone when officers arrived.
Officers spoke to a woman who said she was assaulted inside the women’s bathroom around 10 a.m.
The woman said when she entered a stall, she heard someone enter the bathroom and go into the stall right next to her. She then exited her stall and went to the sink to wash her hands.
The woman said that Fossum then exited the other stall and approached her from behind. Fossum then allegedly groped the victim.
When she screamed, Fossum told her to stay quiet, according to the complaint. When she tried to escape, Fossum tried to block her from leaving the bathroom.
The woman was able to push Fossum away before escaping the bathroom into the hallway, where she called the police.
Fossum was later found at about 4 p.m. in the 1700 block of West River Parkway. He was then arrested and booked into Hennepin County Jail on criminal sexual assault charges.
Police say they found surveillance footage of Fossum in the area where the bathroom is located and footage of him walking out of the building after the time of the alleged assault. Fossum was reportedly wearing the same clothes seen in the footage when he was arrested and matched the description given by the victim.
Officers say they also spoke to a witness who heard the woman screaming that a man touched her in the bathroom. Another witness said that the woman was “very upset, shaking and was in tears.”
The woman also told police that she was afraid he was going to hurt her and that he may have had a weapon.
Court documents show Fossum has multiple previous convictions that include criminal sexual conduct, threats of violence, damage to property, violating restraining orders and stalking.
He remains in custody as of Wednesday afternoon and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Fossum’s next court appearance is set for the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 1.
A police spokesperson said that additional security precautions have been taken inside Minneapolis City Hall.
A Minneapolis city spokesperson shared the following statement:
“In an effort to increase security at City Hall, the Municipal Building Commission (the organization that manages the City Hall facility), has secured the upper floor hallways, accessible by card access only.
The City of Minneapolis is dedicated to providing safe workplace environments for their staff while being a safe and welcoming place for its residents to visit and receive services.”