PROVO — Criminal charges were filed Thursday against a Provo man accused of sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint in a restroom at the Rock Canyon trailhead.
Wayne Ray Leas Jr., 34, is charged in 4th District Court with aggravated robbery and aggravated sexual assault, first-degree felonies.
On Nov. 7, Leas followed a 21-year-old woman into the restroom at the trailhead in Rock Canyon Park, confronted her with a knife and demanded her cash, according to charging documents. Police described the weapon as a large curved knife with about a 10-inch blade.
When the woman told Leas she did not have any cash, and even showed him her wallet to prove she had no money, Leas then demanded she take her clothes off, the charges state.
The woman managed to unlock her cellphone using her fingerprint and dialed her friend, who was already hiking on the trail, as she reached into her backpack to show Leas that she didn't have any money.
The woman left the line open and repeated everything Leas told her so that her friend could hear, according to police. She tried to stall by telling Leas she had to take her shoes off first, police stated.
But prosecutors stated that Leas "began to forcefully disrobe" the woman and "struggled with defendant while defendant held the knife in front of victim's face, pressed the knife against victim's neck, and made many other threatening motions with the knife to intimidate victim," charging documents state.
A male friend listened on his phone as the assault unfolded and ran back down the trail to confront the man and rescue the woman, who was partially dressed, police said. The man ran off when the woman's friends arrived.Comment on this story
Prosecutors noted in charging documents that Leas "struggled with victim in the course of the robbery and caused bodily injury to victim. Defendant also held the knife to victim's neck and made threatening motions with the knife attempting to coerce victim into giving defendant money."
The woman was not seriously injured, according to police.
Leas was arrested after Provo police released a drawing of the suspect. Two BYU police officers recognized him as a person whom they had questioned the night before after he was found "hiding in the bushes near the heat plant," police said.