COPE, SC (WMBF) – The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office arrested a man after he forced his way into a woman's home and threatened to sexually assault her Thursday morning.
According to a news release, Joseph Ross, 36, was charged with first-degree burglary in connection with the early-morning break-in that Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said "could have been much worse."
"Due to the victim's quick thinking, she was able to put a locked door between herself and her would-be assailant," said Sheriff Leroy Ravenell. "We're just extremely relieved this didn't get any worse than it was for this young lady."
Investigators responded to a Cope house around 1 a.m. where officers said a woman was "very frantic and had been shaking."
She said she was reading when she heard a knock at the door. Thinking it may be a relative, she opened the door to discover an unfamiliar man wearing clothes that concealed his identity. When she tried to close the door, he forced his way in.
He pushed the victim to the floor, pulled out a knife and demanded she remove her clothing. The release stated she begged him not to assault her because her, asking to go outside, away from her children.
When the man moved toward the door, the woman managed to lock him outside and call 911.
The investigation is ongoing and a magistrate denied Ross bond Friday.