A middle school student at K.O. Knudson Middle School was on her way to class and stopped at Woodbury Middle School just before 6 a.m. Wednesday to ride a bus over to her school.
Police say she was locking her bike up on the north side of the campus near the parking lot when a man grabbed her and then sexually assaulted her at knifepoint.
"This is probably the most serious violent crimes to deal with of a juvenile," said Metro Lt. Dan McGrath from Metro.
McGrath said this type of true stranger-on-stranger crime in the Valley is rare but applauds the girl who fought back and was able to get away.
"She did put up a fight in this struggle, and she was able to free herself and run out into Harmon, and a citizen stopped and let her into a vehicle," McGrath said. "That's when we were called."
Police arrested 48-year-old Richard Schlacta from California. Metro doesn't believe he has a criminal history here in Las Vegas, but acknowledge that he has a prior wrap sheet.
"I would consider him a career criminal," McGrath said.
During a press conference, Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky assured parents on Wednesday that schools are safe and still one of the safest places for children.
"We reach out to let our community know that schools are safe places," Skorkowsky said. "We had an extremely unfortunate situation that happened, and we're addressing it."
Meantime, school police encouraged parents to talk with their children about safety and to stay away from strangers.
"Talk about safety. Give them alternate routes, and if you can work it out where kids are walking in groups," Capt. Ken Young, CCSD police, said.
Police say Schlacta now faces a number of charges against him, including three counts of sexual assault to a victim younger than 14 years old, first-degree kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.
They say the girl was treated at University Medical Center and has since been released.
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