Man accused of sneaking up behind jogger, sexually abusing her in Peoria

Peoria Championship Martial Arts says they offer self-defense training, aimed to prevent attacks such as this.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 3:37 PM PST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 4:55 PM PST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A man is accused of attacking a woman as she was on an early morning jog in Peoria during the weekend.

On Saturday morning, a 45-year-old woman was jogging on Skunk Creek Trail, near 75th Avenue and Bell Road, when she smiled and passed by 27-year-old Steven Ryan Michael and said good morning. Suddenly, Michael came up from behind and grabbed her in a “bear hug,” according to court paperwork. He then threw the victim on the ground, got on top of her as she was screaming for help, and told him to stop, police said. Court documents say the woman punched Michael to try to get him to let go but grabbed her chest. She then hit him in the groin. He got off of her and ran away. Officers say the woman ran home to tell her husband because she didn’t have her phone, and he called 911.

Court paperwork says police spotted Michael near the 83rd Avenue bridge at the canal, and he tried to run away from officers. He ran into a business complex on the north side of the trail but then turned around and started running south again. However, police were able to stop him and take him into custody. Investigators say he had injuries on his face, hands, wrists and knee.

Police say Michael’s story didn’t add up. He initially told officers he took a bus to the area to go hiking but wasn’t wearing typical hiking clothing and lived 40-50 minutes away, investigators said. There are also no hiking trails in the area. Michael then changed his story and said he was going to Arrowhead Mall and was waiting for them to open.

Peoria Championship Martial Arts says they offer self-defense training aimed at preventing attacks such as this. Owner Howard Munding says if you are attacked, you should take a shot at their eyes. “You dont have to gouge out their eyes, but stick a finger in their eye. They can’t see, gives you a chance to run away,” he explained. The facility also offers women’s self-defense classes. For more information, click/tap here.

Michael was booked on one count of sexual abuse, one count of attempted sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of kidnapping. His bond was set at $50,000.