HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested a man accused of sexually assaulting a teen while she walked home in Hollywood.
Officers arrested 23-year-old Matthew James Walker, Thursday evening.
The next day, the suspect appeared in bond court, where he was charged with attempted sexual battery on a person under 18, aggravated stalking, burglary and other charges.
According to Hollywood Police, Walker followed the victim on his bicycle and made some vulgar comments, at around 7:30 p.m., Monday.
Investigators said the suspect approached the teen near Dewey Street and South 29th Avenue and grabbed her.
“I got on my grass, and he got off his bike, and I had on a skirt, and he tried to put his hands on my butt, so I slapped his hands, and I tried to run in my house,” the victim said.
Police said the girl was able to get away after she kicked him in the groin.
As he was fleeing, police said, he declared, “I will return.”
“I was so scared that I didn’t even go to school,” the victim said.
After the attack, police released surveillance footage showing the suspect riding his bike. Shortly after, the department was flooded with tips from the public, and officials said it was thanks to this response that they were able to arrest Walker.
The victim’s mother was on hand at Friday’s bond hearing. She said she wanted to be in the courtroom to see Walker start his justice process.
When asked whether she felt safer knowing her daughter’s alleged assailant is behind bars, she replied, “Um, yeah, I feel safe for her and any other teenagers out there. I just hope that he does get justice, and he stays behind bars.”
Police said the girl did the right thing when she fought off her accused attacker.
The victim’s mother had a message for Walker.
“Rot in hell,” she said.
The victim said girls who find themselves in her situation need to be mindful to avoid being paralyzed by fear.
“I would say don’t be scared, even though you are, but just don’t be scared to the point where you can’t fight him off,” she said. “At least try to fight him off.”
Walker is being held on $250,000 bond because he had some prior arrests.
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