Man accused in 2 sex assaults near Columbia University may have committed more crimes: NYPD

Lauren Cook

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) - A man accused of sexually assaulting two young women near a Columbia University housing complex was arrested this week, police said on Thursday.

However, investigators believe there may be more victims who have not come forward. Police urged anyone with information to reach out to the NYPD.

Miguel Mella, 32, was arrested on Saturday around 10:30 a.m., police said. Mella allegedly sexually assaulted two 19-year-old women near a Columbia University housing complex in Morningside Heights on April 21, several days before his arrest. While the assaults took place on the same day, it wasn't immediately clear how much time passed between the attacks.

Columbia University said the victims were affiliated with the school. Following the attack, the university distributed an alert to students and staff that included several photos of the suspect.

Someone who recognized Mella from the photos came forward, which helped lead to his arrest, according to Columbia. Mella, who lives in Upper Manhattan near Fort Tryon Park, was charged with four counts of sex abuse and two counts of forcible touching, police said.

A Columbia official said the university was not aware of any additional assaults related to Mella in the area near the housing complex.

The official said the university provides multiple safety resources for students and staff, including a visible security presence with guard booths, foot and vehicle patrols, multiple shuttle buses and a free rideshare service that runs through 3 a.m. Walking safety escorts are also available between specific points near the campus as well as safety training.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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