EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 14, 2010

Woman fights off attack, holds suspect for police

See video below

LAWRENCE — A would-be rapist got more than he bargained for when he grabbed a 31-year-old woman in the bathroom of her first-floor apartment on the city's northwest side.

The 5-foot-1-inch, 124-pound woman fought back fiercely, and the 5-foot-7-inch, 200-pound man wound up outside on the ground with a serious knee injury, waiting for police to arrive.

Police said a thoroughly beaten Edgardo Montes, 47, of 10 Stearns Ave., was arrested at the scene and charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, assault with intent to rape, and indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over.

Montes was designated as a Level 2 sex offender after a 1995 rape conviction, police said after his arrest.

April Marchessault said she took out the trash about 12:30 a.m. on July 30 and went inside.

"I came back in and left the screen door closed but the back door open," she said, describing what happened. She said she vacuumed her living room and went into the bathroom to wipe down the sink.

"He came up from behind me and put his arms around me on my chest. I went to turn around and he squeezed me so I couldn't turn around," she said.

The suspect tried to force her face into the sink.

"I don't know where my strength came from. I was able to turn around and saw him with the back of his shirt pulled over his face," she said. "I pushed him and he went backwards and while he was going backwards he swung and that's when he hit me."

Shaking off the punch to her jaw she pushed him backwards and he fell into the stove.

"I grabbed the top of his head and pulled his shirt off. He went to go out the back door but I was standing there," she said.

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