Five suspects sought in Hoorn bus stop sex assault
Police in Hoorn said they were searching for a group of male suspects accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a bus stop Wednesday night. The woman managed to escape with the help of a passerby, and the chance arrival of a public bus.
It happened next to the Noord-Holland city's train station. "Between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the young woman was standing at a bus stop on Stationsweg when she was harassed by a group of five young men," police said. They approached and spoke to the woman, when some in the group began to grab her, police alleged.
No specific details about the assault were released. Someone in the area came to the woman's aid, police said in a report. "As a number of men took a few steps back, the woman saw an opportunity to walk away in the direction of the bus which was just arriving."
The suspects were described as thin men with a darker skin tone between the ages of 20 and 35, all of whom were wearing dark clothes. Authorities used the phrase "Afro haircut" in their description of the offenders, but it was not clear if they were referring to some or all of the suspects.
Police also wanted to speak with the bystander who helped the woman. Other witnesses were asked to contact authorities involved in the case.
In the Netherlands, sexual assault, not including rape, carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and up to 76 thousand euros in fines. Because a group of suspects were involved, prosecutors could claim the assault was aggravated, which brings a maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months behind bars.
With the woman escaping thanks to the help of a bystander and public transportation, a judge could view the incident as "attempted", which cuts the maximum sentence by a third.