Woman's run disrupted by man who abruptly slaps her buttocks

Police search for man on bike path without success

Police are seeking the public's help in locating a man who sexually battered a woman out for a run on the Los Altos-Palo Alto Bike Path on Wednesday morning, police said.

Officers were alerted to the sexual battery that had just occurred behind Terman Park around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, police said in a press release issued Thursday. The call came from a woman in her 20s who told a police dispatcher that she was heading south on Los Altos Avenue from Arastradero Road where she saw a man running in her direction.

She reported the man went past her, then slapped her buttocks area with an open palm, according to police. When the woman yelled at the man, he stared back at her and continued on his run.

Officers went out to the trail but were unable to find the man. He is described as a white man in his early 20s and about 6 feet 3 inches tall with long brown hair that was pulled back, according to police. He wore a gray shirt with the word "STAFF" displayed on the back and black basketball shorts. The man also had a phone and headphones over his ears.

Investigators plan to release a sketch if the woman is able to work with a police artist. They don't believe the case is related to past sexual battery incidents, police said.

Anyone with information about Wednesday's sexual battery is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at or


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


16 people like this
Posted by Another Runner
a resident of Los Altos
on May 31, 2019 at 6:48 am

Very improper behavior but I suspect he was just another runner trying to let her know he was approaching from behind & about to pass her.

Kind of like calling 'right' or left' when skiing.

Or maybe it's a peculiar form of greeting among runners from another country.

18 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 31, 2019 at 7:26 am

Perhaps she was hit by his earphone cord as he ran past. He might have had no idea what happened.

12 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 31, 2019 at 10:34 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by GA1A neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on May 31, 2019 at 10:42 am

I’m assuming this was Los Palos Ave., not Los Altos Ave., as Arastradero doesn’t intersect the latter.

8 people like this
Posted by boo
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 31, 2019 at 10:44 am

[Post removed.]

37 people like this
Posted by Uh... no
a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2019 at 11:53 am

I’ve never heard of butt slapping as an innocent way to make your presence known to a stranger.
For anyone that is confused, this is completely inappropriate, and many women would feel immediately unsafe in this situation.

9 people like this
Posted by boo hoo
a resident of Green Acres
on May 31, 2019 at 12:44 pm

[Post removed.]

11 people like this
Posted by Not Just Trump
a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2019 at 1:01 pm

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Su Hong Palo Alto's last day of business will be Sept. 29
By Elena Kadvany | 15 comments | 5,286 views

Troubling safety issues in our fair city
By Diana Diamond | 16 comments | 1,584 views

Premarital, Women Over 50 Do Get Married
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,459 views

Natural Wines?
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 1,407 views

Electric Buses: A case study
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,208 views


Register now!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info