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A 17-year-old boy has been arrested and will be charged with aggravated rape in the sexual assault of a 69-year-old man who was running in North Chattanooga Monday, according to police.

The teenager allegedly attacked the runner on West Mississippi Avenue around 7:30 a.m. Monday, police said.

The Times Free Press does not identify minors charged with crimes unless the minor is charged as an adult. Police have described the attacker as about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and between 180 and 200 pounds with a short afro or flat-top-style haircut.

State law defines an aggravated rape as "unlawful sexual penetration of a victim" that is forced or causes bodily injury to the victim. A suspect also could be charged with aggravated rape if the suspect knew that the victim was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

Police have not said what prompted the attack or whether the victim and suspect knew each other. The teenager's case will continue through the juvenile court system unless a Juvenile Court judge decides the defendant should be treated as an adult.

The case rattled runners across Chattanooga, who said Mississippi Avenue is a popular route.

Before the suspect was apprehended, police told runners to use safety precautions during early mornings or late at night, including running with a partner or dog, avoiding unpopulated areas and not wearing headphones or keeping the volume low.

Contact staff reporter Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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