NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – A Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputy arrested a man Sunday morning after he said he caught him in the middle of a sexual assault of an SFA student.
According to Sheriff Thomas Kerss, the deputy was patrolling the eastern side of the county and spotted a suspicious car parked off a scenic overlook on Highway 7 at 7:40 a.m. Sunday.
Kerss said the deputy approached the vehicle finding the suspect, Steven Sledge, 42, in the act of a sexual assault of a female victim. Once the victim saw law enforcement, she made it clear she had been abducted against her will and was being sexually assaulted. She told the deputy she had been kidnapped and taken from the SFA campus earlier in the morning.
Kerss said the woman is a 19-year-old SFA student and was kidnapped near her dorm room at knifepoint at 5:30 a.m. Sledge forced her back into her pickup truck and they drove to the scenic outlook.
The deputy arrested Sledge without incident. He will be charged with aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. While in custody, it was discovered he also had an outstanding warrant for assault-family violence.
SFA Chief of Police Marc Cossich said the student was outside Steen Hall, with her vehicle parked near it when Sledge abducted her.
Kerss said the woman was taken to a hospital where she was examined for rape and released. She was not injured.
An arrest affidavit stated Deputy Earl Garner spoke with Sledge and the victim after he approached their vehicle and the victim mouthed the words "help me" to him. Garner then told her to get out of the vehicle and she told him she had been raped.
The victim later told Garner that Sledge forced her into the vehicle after displaying a large knife. Garner found a large knife in the vehicle, the affidavit stated.
The SFA Police Department and the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Department are jointly working on the case.
Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Dorothy Tigner-Thompson set bond at $75,000 for the aggravated sexual assault, $50,000 for the aggravated kidnapping charge, $2,500 on the outstanding warrant and $325 for a misdemeanor charge of gambling.