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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Court documents: Woman assaulted by maintenance man distracted him to call 911

UPDATED: Tue., March 29, 2022

A woman who was assaulted by a maintenance man who deputies say used his master key to enter her apartment Friday, distracted her captor to call 911, according to court documents.

Lee R. McNutt, 39, remained in Spokane County Jail on suspicion of burglary, rape, unlawful imprisonment, assault and harassment.

At about 1:45 a.m. Friday, the woman awoke in her bedroom at the Aspen Grove Apartments in Spokane Valley to a man stroking her face, according to court documents.

He pinned her and then raped her, the woman told investigators.

During the attack, she told deputies, McNutt tried to strangle her. The victim tried to escape but couldn’t due to her age and medical condition, according to court records.

At one point, the victim argued with McNutt to prevent him from assaulting her in a different manner. Shortly after the argument, McNutt left the apartment and the victim started to call 911. But he returned before she could complete the call, according to court records.

McNutt brought a trailer ball hitch into the apartment, with which he tried to assault the woman, but she argued with him and acted like she was going to hit him, making him stop, according to court documents.

That’s when McNutt told the victim if she hit him he would kill her, she told investigators.

McNutt continued to assault the victim before showing her he was wearing women’s undergarments. The woman said that she suggested McNutt try on her clothes, since he had enjoyed looking at them.

While McNutt was trying on her clothing in her closet, the victim called 911.

Not long after, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies knocked on her door. McNutt panicked, the victim told deputies, and hid in her closet where he was arrested a short time later, according to court documents.

McNutt told deputies he had tried to call to the woman through an opened window, but when she didn’t respond he let himself into the apartment through the front door using his master key that he was given as a maintenance man.

Goodale Barbieri, the company that manages the Aspen Grove Apartments, said in a statement Monday that the company has policies and procedures to control access to apartments. The company said it had conducted a background check before hiring McNutt, but is now reviewing its protection measures.

“We are devastated to learn about this horrible allegation,” the company wrote. “We are cooperating with authorities while the facts are gathered.”

McNutt claimed he and the woman had consensual sex but that he was not invited into the apartment, according to court documents. He told deputies he had “problems and eccentricities” and that he didn’t knowingly “violate that woman,” according to court records.

As of Monday afternoon, McNutt remained in the Spokane County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

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