A 23-year-old man accused of grabbing a woman by the neck and trying to force himself on her in a parking garage is facing multiple charges, including attempted rape, Portland police say.
According to court documents, Joshua Michael Hayes followed the 35-year-old woman up the stairs of the parking garage at the Multnomah Athletic Club, located in the 800 block of Southwest 21st Avenue.
The club confirmed to FOX 12 that the woman is an employee at the club.
Police said Hayes had been following her for a few blocks and officers said he pretended to be a club employee so the woman let him in with her through the locked door of the garage.
Court documents show that shortly afterward, he grabbed the woman’s neck, covered her mouth, tried to remove her clothes and force himself on her.
Police say the woman yelled, fought back and escaped to call 911.
Responding officers found and arrested Hayes a few blocks away from the parking garage at Southwest 17th Avenue and Yamhill Street. He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail.
The woman did not require medical attention, police say, and was able to speak to investigators about the incident.
FOX 12 spoke to a couple women, members of the club, who said they come to the area regularly.
“That’s very disturbing that it happened here, you feel really safe,” Gail Nakata said, adding that she doesn’t always feel comfortable in parking garages.
“If I can help it, I try to park on the street, even if I have to walk quite a ways, I try to park on the street, because (parking garages) kind of creep me out," Nakata said.
Some members said they are now on high alert reminding them to always take extra time to be aware.
“Everyone is on their cell phones and they’re not paying attention, they’re looking down, and that can make a difference,” another woman said
According to court records, Hayes denied trying to rape the woman and instead told police that he and the woman got into a fight after he asked for help charging his phone.
Documents also said he admitted to following the victim for blocks, as well as snorting methamphetamine the night before the attack.
Records show Hayes is homeless and has been staying in a local shelter. Hayes will be back in court next week, authorities say.
In addition to attempted rape in the first degree, Hayes also faces charges including burglary in the first degree, assault in the fourth degree and coercion, according to Portland police.
When it comes to personal safety, Portland police said you should always trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right try to be confident and assertive and if someone tries to hurt you get angry and don’t be afraid to yell.
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