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Police: BYU student admits to multiple gropings on campus

Posted at 6:11 PM, Mar 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 09:13:32-04

PROVO, Utah — A Brigham Young University student who police say groped at least five women on campus over the weekend has been arrested.

In a "timely warning notice" issued by BYU Police Sunday afternoon, Chief Matthew Andrus wrote that two female students reported being groped by an unknown man within two hours of each other — in the middle of the day.

More victims then came forward, and police announced Monday that there were a total of five similar incidents between Saturday and Sunday on campus, and a sixth off-campus.

Then later Monday afternoon, BYU Police announced that a suspect had been taken into custody and had admitted to the crimes after being advised of his Miranda rights.

A few hours later, 26-year-old Jacob Scott Hansen was booked into the Utah County Jail facing two charges of misdemeanor sexual battery. More counts may be added when he is formally charged in court.

Police said they were able to identify Hansen, who is a senior at the university, thanks to surveillance footage.

Each of the five women told BYU Police they were touched inappropriately by the suspect. The incidents all occurred in different areas of campus, but they are all equipped with security cameras.

One of the actual attacks was caught on camera, which BYUPD Lt. Jeff Long called "aggressive." It shows the suspect walking several feet behind a woman. He then speeds up, gets within a few feet of her and appears to stumble into her from behind, then quickly walks away.

"You can kind of see that she’s stunned right after it happened," Long said. "You can see her body language: she just kind of freezes."

Police tracked the suspect's movement across campus to where he had parked his car. They were able to obtain a license plate number, which led them to Hansen. They then contacted him at his apartment just south of campus and took him into custody.

"We're very relieved, but probably not as relieved as the victims," Long said. "You could just see the relief... when we told them this guy was in custody."

Long added that he does still believe BYU is a safe place, but advises everyone to just stay aware of their surroundings.

"These women did the right thing: They called us," he said. "If you see something, report it. If it happens to you, report it."

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or the online chat hotline at

BYU also has resources on their website: