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Registered sex offender faces charges in attack on woman.

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

A man with a history of violently assaulting women has been accused of grabbing a Eugene woman Tuesday morning as she walked from her car to work, sexually assaulting her and stealing her purse.

A witness wrote down the masked assailant's license plate number as he drove away. Later, Eugene police found Ricky Allen Levasseur, 40, inside his garage, going through the woman's stolen purse.

Officers arrested Levasseur, a registered sex offender who recently was released from prison after serving 14 years of a 40-year sentence.

He was being held in the Lane County Jail on charges of first-degree sex abuse, coercion, menacing, physical harassment, third-degree robbery and second-degree theft.

Detectives are investigating whether Levasseur could be involved in other recent sex crimes, including a string of indecent exposure cases in and around the University of Oregon campus, Sgt. Scott McKee said.

In Tuesday's case, a 32-year-old woman parked her car in a parking structure on the 1400 block of Oak Street around 6 a.m. and walked toward her office. She started running when she saw a man wearing a knit mask coming toward her, McKee said.

The man chased her, threw her to the ground, hit her in the face, sexually assaulted her and grabbed her purse, McKee said. At one point, he threatened to injure her if she didn't stop screaming and flailing her arms and legs.

The suspect fled when a passer-by came upon the scene. The person watched as the suspect got into a red Toyota sedan and wrote down the license plate number and gave it to the victim.

The woman called 911 and gave the number to police, who traced it to an address on the 3300 block of West 14th Avenue, McKee said.

When officers arrived, they saw the car in the driveway and a man matching the assailant's description rifling through a purse in the garage.

Levasseur was convicted in 1989 of first-degree rape and kidnapping for abducting a 17-year-old Springfield girl at knifepoint as she walked down the street and raping and sodomizing her before dropping her off at an intersection.

He also was arrested in January 1988 when - wearing a knit mask - he attacked two Northwest Christian College students as they jogged on the bike path near the Autzen footbridge in Eugene. The women escaped and Levasseur was tackled by two of their male friends and other helpful citizens, according to newspaper reports at the time.
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Title Annotation:Crime; Police trace the suspect to a house through a license plate number from a witness
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 3, 2003
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