AYER — A homeless man from Fitchburg was charged Sunday with the attempted rape of a female jogger on the Rail Trail bike path off Park Street in Ayer.
According to Ayer police Lt. Brian Gill, Scott Risko, 40, was arrested at 7 a.m., while biking away from the location of the attack.
Gill said a 37-year-old Ayer woman screamed when Risko, apparently biking past her as she jogged in the early morning on the rail trail, hopped off his bike and dragged her off the trail and into the woods off the route.
Neighbors heard the screams for help and yelled to the woman to head toward them out of the woods. The woman was able to make an escape and ran toward the neighborhood.
At the same time, Ayer Police Department dispatcher Elaine Clements heard screams coming from the rail trail across Park Street from the police station. She was reporting to work during the department’s morning shift change. Through both the neighbor’s call and Clements’ reports, police officers mobilized to find the suspect. Gill said the midnight shift remained on duty while the day shift came on board.
A man fitting the suspect’s description was ultimately located by Officer Matt Power on Groton School Road, in the vicinity of John Riley Road. Risko was allegedly bicycling away in an outbound direction toward Groton. In his possession was a backpack that contained, among other things, condoms.
The alleged victim assisted and identified Risko as the attacker.
Risko was arraigned yesterday at Ayer District Court on charges of assault and battery and assault with intent to rape, along with accosting a person of the opposite sex and kidnapping. The woman declined medical treatment at the scene but is cooperating with police in the investigation.
Gill said it does not appear from the Ayer Police Department’s initial check that Risko has any formal sex-offender history in the state’s database.