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Police are investigating after a young girl was grabbed by a man on a secluded pathway in Dunedin this afternoon.
The primary school pupil managed to push the man away before rushing back to Sacred Heart School in Northeast Valley shortly before 4pm.
But as of this evening her assailant remained at large.
Sacred Heart School principal Paul Richardson said the incident happened on the walkway from George St uphill towards Dalmore, near the Northern Motorway over-bridge.
"He grabbed her from behind and she pushed him off.
"She just immediately turned around and ran back to school.
"We're all shaken up but it's worse for the child involved.''
Police descended on North Dunedin after the incident, conducting area searches around Dalmore and Woodhaugh, as officers interviewed the child.
A police dog team was also stationed outside Woodhaugh Gardens.
Mr Richardson said the young girl had been able to glean a description of the man, but police would not supply the description she provided.
He and the school were proud of the young girl's bravery and presence of mind.
"She did all the right things.''
There have been seven other reported suspicious approaches to Dunedin children since September.
The other reports have been from Mosgiel Library, Ravensbourne, Halfway Bush, two from Wakari and one from George St, near Warrender St.
None of the reports have yielded an arrest.