Ex-Con Held In Schoolgirl Abduction Case
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A four-time ex-convict from Southern California was expected to face a Las Vegas judge Friday on multiple felony charges after he was accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a schoolgirl at knifepoint, authorities said.
Richard Martin Schlacta, 48, remained jailed Thursday at the Clark County jail following a foot pursuit and arrest early Wednesday in a neighborhood near a middle school about five miles east of the Las Vegas Strip.
Police said the girl, 13, was locking her bicycle at a school bus pickup spot before 6 a.m. when Schlacta grabbed her, wielded a knife, dragged her between school buildings and attacked her.
Records showed that Schlacta, who was released from California prison custody in June 2012, was being held on charges including sexual assault of a child under 14, first-degree kidnapping of a minor, coercion with force and battery with a deadly weapon.
The girl fought back and escaped with cuts on her arms before waving down a motorist who summoned police, officials said. The girl was treated for her injuries at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Police chased Schlacta through backyards before catching him, and investigators later found his car parked in a school parking lot. Authorities said Schlacta had no known prior connection with the school or the girl.
Clark County School Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky later credited the girl with fighting to free herself from a dangerous situation, and urged parents and residents to talk with children about personal safety.
California prison records show that Schlacta was convicted several times since 1993 in Los Angeles and Orange counties of felony drug, burglary, stolen property, vehicle theft and resisting police charges.
Schlacta served four prison terms and was returned to custody several times over the years on parole violations, state corrections department spokesman Bill Sessa said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Schlacta had a lawyer. He could face up to life in prison if convicted of the kidnapping charge.
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