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September 20, 2014

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Ex-con pleads guilty in sexual assault of 13-year-old schoolgirl

Updated Friday, April 4, 2014 | 11:46 a.m.

Richard Martin Schlacta

Richard Martin Schlacta

An ex-convict from California has taken a plea deal in Las Vegas that avoids a trial and could get him at least 40 years in prison in the knifepoint abduction and rape of a 13-year-old schoolgirl last August.

Richard Martin Schlacta, 49, pleaded guilty March 27 to two charges. Prosecutor James Sweetin said Friday he'll seek consecutive terms of 35 years to life for the kidnapping conviction and five years to life for sexual assault of a minor at sentencing May 1.

Prosecutors dropped seven other charges in the agreement that spares the girl from testifying again in the case.

She took the witness stand in November, saying Schlacta grabbed her as she was locking her bicycle at a school bus stop, threatened her with a box cutter and pulled her between some buildings.

She said Schlacta sexually attacked her before she escaped and flagged down a passing motorist. Schlacta was arrested nearby after a short police search.

He was jailed on $1 million bail and moved to isolation last October after he was accused of plotting to kill the girl to prevent her from testifying.

Sweetin said the plea agreement means Schlacta won't be charged with a crime based on the allegations that he planned to kill the girl.

Defense attorney Rich Tanasi said Friday he asked Clark County District Court Judge James Bixler to instruct jailers to relax Schlacta's isolation in custody.

Tanasi declined to comment about the plea deal.

California prison records show Schlacta served four prison terms on felony drug, burglary, stolen property, vehicle theft and resisting police convictions dating to 1993 in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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