Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Man accused of attacking, forcing way into home of disabled woman

Man accused of attacking, forcing way into home of disabled womanBy KRISTINE SHAWKEY
OGDEN -- A man has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and burglary after police said he attacked a disabled woman after forcing his way into her home.

Michael James Vantress, 26, was prowling near the area of 30th Street and Van Buren Avenue when he followed a 35-year-old woman from the laundry room of her apartment complex to her home sometime before midnight March 20, Ogden Police Detective Tim Scott said.
Vantress pushed his way into the home, where he took money from the woman's purse, broke her phone and forced her down and sexually assaulted her, Scott said.
The woman, described as having physical and mental disabilities that limit her speech and physical ability, was not able to get help immediately following the situation.

Neighbors, family and apartment management told police of the incident.
"This is something where this victim's speech ability is very diminished and she doesn't have the ability to resist or call for help," Scott said.
"The suspect disabled and broke the phone so she had no means to escape. (She) was essentially trapped in the apartment with no physical ability or mental ability to call for help and plan a form of escape."

Scott said this was a difficult case because of the serious charges and the struggle to get information from the woman because of her speech disability. And because the woman didn't know the suspect, that made identifying him even harder.

"The case was made more difficult because he was a stranger to her, but she was able to communicate well enough to help us identify the suspect," Scott said.
Vantress has a history of burglary, which is why police believe he entered the woman's home.
Police say they believe the sexual assault was a crime of opportunity.

"She was going about her daily routine," Scott said, "and then the suspect targeted her and took advantage of her mental and physical ability, knowing the victim didn't have the ability to resist or call for the help."

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