Suspect arrested in attempt sex assault at Ventura church

| July 8, 2009

A 24-year-old man was arrested this morning on suspicion of attempting to rape a woman in the bathroom of a Ventura church, police said.

Sean Toner, of Ventura was arrested about 9:45 a.m. after a manhunt that lasted less than 40 minutes.

Toner was being booked into Ventura County Jail this morning on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, kidnapping with intent to commit rape and assault with a deadly weapon, authorities said. The kidnapping charge refers to the allegation that he forced a woman into a bathroom during the incident.

The alleged assault occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church on Henderson Road, police said.

Toner allegedly approached a woman in the church’s auditorium, took her to a bathroom, threatened her with a piece of glass, and tried to sexually assault her, Ventura police said.

The woman, who works for the church, was able to break free and call police. The suspect fled on foot.

The hunt for Toner began when an officer responding to a report of the assault spotted him walking in the area of Darling Road and Saticoy Avenue and noted that he matched the description of the suspect, police said.

When the officer approached Toner, the Ventura man jumped into the yard of a residence in the 900 block of Saticoy Avenue, police said.

Police surrounded the area and began to search yards with the help of a K-9 officer.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department’s helicopter joined the search, and members of the Sheriff’s Air Crew quickly spotted Toner hiding in a yard in the 10400 block of Boulder Court. With direction from the Air Crew, police found Toner and took him into custody without incident.

Police were preparing to notify nearby residents with an automatic calling system when the suspect was caught, said Ventura police spokesman Sgt. Jack Richards.



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Category: Church Security

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