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April 24, 2014

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Man arrested in kidnapping, sexual assault of middle school student

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 | 7:45 p.m.

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Richard Martin Schlacta

Metro Police arrested a man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a middle school student this morning.

Richard Martin Schlacta, 48, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on multiple counts, including sexually assaulting a victim under 14, first-degree kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.

Patrol officers responded about 6 a.m. to C.W. Woodbury Middle School, 3875 E. Harmon Ave., after the victim escaped and flagged down a motorist, who called police.

Police said the victim was locking up her bicycle at the school before her bus arrived to take her to Knudson Magnet School when the suspect approached her. Schlacta allegedly used a knife and dragged her between school buildings, where he sexually assaulted her, Metro Sexual Assault Unit Lt. Dan McGrath said.

The girl fought back and was able to escape, McGrath said. She was transported to University Medical Center with several cuts on her arms.

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away and arrested him after a short foot pursuit at Vista Largo Drive and Sandhill Road, police said. Schlacta’s car was also found in the school’s parking lot, McGrath said.

While the district began stationing police at middle schools this year, district police Capt. Ken Young said only patrol officers are on duty during morning bus stops. The district police plan to reassess its patrol strategy to make kids safer at morning bus stops, Young said.

This was the fourth unrelated incident involving a student during the first week of school. Earlier this week a Lied Middle School girls basketball coach was arrested on two counts of open and gross lewdness, a boy was hit by a school bus while riding his bike, and students at Canyon Springs were beaten on their way to a senior class event.

Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said the incidents were rare and that the schools are safe, but he also urged parents to take their own precautions to ensure their child’s safety.

“We can’t always rely on our neighborhoods being safe places,” Skorkowsky said. “We need people who are around our bus stops … We need our community to help us be vigilant and our parents to sit down and talk with our students. In all situations, it is that conversation that parents have that help ensure the safety of their children.”

McGrath added that it is rare for a sexual assault attack to occur on school property.

Schlacta, of California, does not have a local arrest record, but he does have one outside of Las Vegas, McGrath said.

Schlacta is being held without bail at the detention center, according to jail records. His initial court appearance is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

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