A 17-year-old female high school student was physically assaulted Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 8:30 a.m. in a campus bathroom at Righetti High School in Santa Maria.

A report from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. states that an unknown male suspect assaulted the victim as she exited a stall inside a bathroom located on the north end of the school campus. The victim defended herself, and after a brief struggle she was able to escape her attacker. During the struggle, the victim’s sweater was torn when the suspect attempted to grab her breast. The victim returned to her classroom where a teacher was informed, who notified campus security. Sheriff’s deputies and campus security were dispatched to the area but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, approximately 20 years of age, 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood tightly pulled around his face and dark colored blue jeans.

The possibility of the attacker being a student has not been ruled out, although the suspect was described as being around 20, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Burridge said.

“This is due to the fact that 20- to 23-year-olds can appear similar in age to high school students. The fact that the suspect was wearing a tightly pulled sweatshirt hood leads us to believe that it could have been a student, and we are not ruling out the possibility.”

The circumstances of the assault are not typical, Burridge said.

“I have been a public information officer for years, and this is the first daytime school attack that I have come across,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding the attack is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Dept. in Santa Maria at (805) 934-6150.