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“Fully confessed:” Prosecutors say suspect in 4 sexual assaults dropped phone at scene

Michael Raspberry

MILWAUKEE -- The suspect in four sexual assaults near the lakefront has now been charged in connection with the incidents.

Police say the big break that led to the arrest was the suspect dropping his phone at the scene of the fourth and most serious assault.

26-year-old Michael Raspberry of Milwaukee faces a total of five counts that, when considered with his previous convictions, could lead to a maximum sentence of longer than 60 years in prison.

The assaults associated with this case all happened within a few blocks of each other on Monday night, November 20th, police said.

Jeffrey Winzenried

In the first three incidents, a man on a bike rode up to the victims and either slapped or grabbed their behinds. He began by asking one of the victims where he could catch a bus.

Jeffrey Winzenried, who offers self-defense classes at Monkey Bar Gym, refers to that as "the interview."

"They're looking for the lamb, not the lion. They're looking for a person who is, potentially, gonna be a victim," Winzenried said.

After each of the first three incidents, the suspect rode off.

The fourth time however, the suspect approached the victim, asked about the bus, and grabbed her behind twice. He did not stop there. According to the criminal complaint, Raspberry followed her then tackled her near the pumping station off Lincoln Memorial Dr. He pulled down her pants and touched her private parts. The victim told police Raspberry was reaching for his own pants when a car pulled into the treatment facility and scared the suspect off.

The attack left the fourth victim with a fractured rib and hand injuries that required surgery.

Police released a composite sketch and surveillance photo of the suspect after the attacks.

MPD sexual assault suspect

Police said they recovered phone at the scene. They lifted a fingerprint from the phone that positively identified Raspberry. After going through the phone, investigators said they found pictures of Raspberry, who also matched the description of the attacker.

Jeffrey Winzenried

Winzenried says during an attack, victims should remember three target zones -- eyes, throat and groin.

"We say oranges, Coke can, and tomatoes because the consistency of the pressure you need to put on is like squeezing or pushing in oranges, crushing a Coke can, and crushing tomatoes," Winzenried said.

Random assaults relatively rare

Ian Henderson, Associate Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said that random sexual assaults are relatively rare. He pointed to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control study that found 13.8% of female rape victims reported being attacked by a stranger. The victims of an unwanted sexual encounter reported the perpetrator was a stranger in 25% of the responses.

Attacker's confession, criminal past

Raspberry was taken into custody on Thursday, November 23rd. Two officers observed Raspberry walking shortly before 3:30 a.m. and Raspberry ran. But they located and arrested him a short time later.

In interviews with police, Raspberry "fully confessed" to sexually assaulting the four victims on November 20th. The complaint indicates Raspberry has three prior convictions for felony burglary -- in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Raspberry also allegedly confessed to a  burglary committed November 23rd.

Raspberry is being held on a $100,000 bond.