NYU students groped in Washington Square Park

Two NYU students were groped within 15 minutes of each other in Washington Square Park. It happened last Monday evening.

In the first incident at around 8:15 p.m., a man walked up to a woman and told her he had a gun.  He then grabbed the butt and proceeded to conduct a sex act on himself.  The woman got away unharmed.

In the second incident at around 8:30 p.m., the man walked up to a 19-year-old female student who was sitting on a bench.  He sat next to her and started touching himself.  She got up to leave but he pulled off her shorts, bruising her thigh in the act.  She was able to escape.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Rapes in the 6th precinct have risen 40% this year according to NYPD records.  Other sex crimes are up by 30%.

Former NYPD Sgt. Joseph Giacalone, now a John Jay College professor, is not surprised by the incidents.

"We've seen Washington Square Park area start to fall into decay for a while," Giacalone says.  "So there have been a lot of issues."

He noted that some homeowner associations in the area have hired their own private security due to the crime in the area.

FOX 5 News reported on one block in Greenwich Village that hired guards in August.