A 48-year-old California man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl on her way to school in August.
Richard Schlacta faces 10 counts, including sexual assault, kidnapping and battery with a deadly weapon.
At a hearing last month, the victim testified vividly about the Aug. 28 attack.
The girl described how she had just ridden her bicycle to her school bus stop when a stranger grabbed her, threatened to slit her throat with a box cutter, dragged her behind a building at Woodbury Middle School, on Harmon Avenue near U.S. Highway 95, and sexually assaulted her.
The girl was able to escape and ran into the street, screaming, and waved down a passing car. Two women helped her and called police.
The girl was waiting for a bus to take her to Knudson Middle School, a creative arts, language and technology magnet program school when Schlacta approached her about 5:45 a.m., prosecutors said.
Schlacta was found soon after hiding under a pop-up trailer in a driveway nearby.
Following the preliminary hearing, defense lawyer Mace Yampolsky withdrew from the case and Schlacta is now being represented by the public defender’s office.
Deputy public defender Kathleen Hamers declined to comment following Schlacta’s arraignment before District Court hearing master Melisa De La Garza.
A trial was set for June 16.
Schlacta, who remained jailed at the Clark County Detention Center on $1 million bail, has a lengthy criminal history in California, including convictions on burglary, vehicle theft and drug charges in 1993.
He was released in 1995. But after being convicted in 2003 on similar charges, he was imprisoned until 2012 based on the state’s “second strike” law, which doubled his sentence.
Schlacta also was imprisoned from February to June last year on a drug charge, which didn’t qualify as a “third strike” under California’s law, authorities have said.
In all, Schlacta has been found guilty of 19 different charges in nine cases.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.