Michael Knight (Courtesy Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office)
Michael Knight (Courtesy Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office)

NEW BRUNSWICK — A manhunt is on for a 37-year-old Newark man accused of brutally beating and dragging a Rutgers University college student in a frightening rape attempt that was thwarted by good Samaritans.

Michael P. Knight, 37, is charged with aggravated assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, kidnapping and endangering his injured victim during the pre-dawn attack on May 4.

He remains at large but a Superior Court judge already has set a $1 million bail.

Authorities had publicly reported the attempted a day later, but left out the most chilling details until now.

Knight is accused of following his victim through the heart of the College Avenue campus about 3:30 a.m.

He hit her in the head, severely beat her, and dragged her to the side of a building near the corner of College Avenue and Seminary Place, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said.

Knight allegedly was in the process of raping his victim when a group of people tried to intervene.

Knight fled and threatened to shoot the people who gave chase, police said.

The woman was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she was treated and released.

Knight is described as 6-feet, 2-inches tall, weighing about 220-250 pounds, with shoulder-length dreadlocks that may be tied behind his head. He also has tattoos, including one with the letter "D" on the left side of his neck.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez of the Rutgers University Police Department at 848-932-8025 or Detective George Stilwell of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-8675.

Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County is offering a reward for any information leading to the apprehension and prosecution of Knight. The tip line welcomes anonymous information and can be reached at 1-800-939-9600 or online at middlesextips.com.

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