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By Marisa Donelan

MediaNews

WOBURN — A Fitchburg man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of assault with intent to rape, assault and battery and kidnapping, on the day he was set to start trial for the violent attack of a female jogger on the Ayer rail trail, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

Scott Risko, 42, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday at noon in Middlesex Superior Court, according to a press release from Leone’s office.

The woman was jogging on the Ayer rail trail early in the morning on Aug. 16, 2009, when Risko approached her on a bicycle from the opposite direction and hooked his arm around her neck, the release explains.

She screamed and freed herself from Risko, “but the defendant grabbed her again and dragged her well off of the trail and into the bushes, over 70 feet from where he first attacked her,” the release said. “The defendant threw the victim to the ground, confining her by kneeling on top of her, and placed his gloved hands over her mouth, insisting she stop yelling.”

Two witnesses heard the woman’s screams for help, and one of them came out of her house, yelling that she was calling the police, and Risko fled on his bicycle toward Groton.

Ayer police located Risko about a half-hour after the attack and arrested him.

“The pack the defendant carried on his back during the assault was seized and its contents were examined, including women’s underpants, little-girl ‘Dora the Explorer’ underpants, three types of condoms, and hundreds of pornographic photographs and videos downloaded onto a cellular phone and video recorder,” the release said.

After a dangerousness hearing, Risko was held without bail, and indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on Sept. 1, 2009. In October 2009, Judge Jane Haggerty ordered Risko held without bail after a dangerousness hearing.

“This defendant pleaded guilty to physically assaulting and kidnapping an innocent victim,” Leone said in the press release. “These are seriously troubling acts of violence against a female jogger, which were thankfully interrupted due to witnesses overhearing the victim’s cries for help, and due to the victim’s courage and strength in fighting to get free.”