ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - An Orangeburg County man is charged after reportedly forcing his way into a woman's home and threatening to sexually assault her, and the sheriff praised the victim's quick thinking.
Joseph Ross, 36, is charged with first-degree burglary in connection with an early-morning break-in Thursday that Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell says could have been much worse.
Orangeburg County Magistrate Peggy Doremus denied bond for Ross at a hearing Friday.
Deputies responded to a home in Cope at approximately 1 a.m. where a woman reported an intruder had attempted to sexually assault her, Orangeburg County Sheriff's spokesman Richard Walker said.
Deputies located a woman who appeared "very frantic and had been shaking," according to the incident report. The woman told deputies she had been reading when she heard a knock at her door. Believing the late-night visitor may have been a relative, she opened the door, Walker said.
Investigators say Ross was wearing a hoodie to conceal his identity and forced his way inside when she tried to close the door, pushed the victim to the floor and pulled a knife. He then demanded repeatedly the woman remove her clothing, they say.
During the attack, the victim told deputies she looked into the man's eyes and recognized him, calling him, "Joey," the report states. He then said, "I am not Joey," the report states.
Deputies say the victim then told him her children were in the home sleeping and begged him not to assault her, then asked if they could go outside away from her children.
"As the victim and subject moved toward the door, the victim managed to shut the door and lock it with the subject outside," Walker said.
She then called 911.
"Due to the victim's quick thinking, she was able to put a locked door between herself and her would-be assailant," Ravenell said. "We're just extremely relieved this didn't get any worse than it was for this young lady."
Investigators were able to locate Ross nearby and took him into custody.
Inv. Allen Culpepper is leading the ongoing investigation, Walker said.