A 17-year-old male was victim to a series of unlawful sexual acts in public this past Thursday, July 2, after a midday sighting in the East Canon Perdido parking structure near the Paseo Nuevo shopping mall. A witness originally reported the activity as a rape in progress.

The suspect, whom police said may be an adult female resembling a male, is still at large and has yet to be identified.

The incident, reported at 12:56 p.m., was first investigated by Santa Barbara Police as a possible sexual battery. According to police spokesperson Officer Lorenzo Duarte, investigators found that the incident included both consensual and non-consensual sexual acts with a minor. “The case is not being investigated as a rape,” Duarte said. “After investigation, some of the stuff involved turned out to be consensual and other stuff did not come out consensual. Detectives are currently pursuing the case as an unlawful sexual act with a minor.”

In light of the incident, the Paseo Nuevo shopping center issued a statement to all employees last week encouraging them to use a “buddy system” when walking to their cars.

Individuals with any information about the incident are encouraged to contact the Santa Barbara City Police Department at (805) 897-2300.


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