Police: Man broke into Portland apartment, sexually abused woman inside

Damascus Menefee booking photo courtesy Multnomah County Jail

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested a man who they say broke into an apartment and tried to sexually assault a woman Monday afternoon.

Officers responded to the report of a burglary at an apartment in the 16000 block of Southeast Stark Street at 2:55 p.m.

When they arrived, a woman said the suspect was inside the apartment with her teenage daughter. When officers heard the teen inside call for help, they immediately entered and took the suspect into custody and made sure she was safe.

Investigators believe the suspect, 39-year-old Damascus L. Menefee, entered the apartment through an unlocked door.

Police say when the suspect entered the apartment, the teen's mom confronted the suspect and asked him to leave, but the suspect refused.

The resident ran out of the apartment and contacted someone nearby to use a phone to call 911.

The teenager's mom, who only identified herself as Nancie, returned to the apartment and told Menefee she was calling the police.

"He was able to smack the phone out of my hand, and I grabbed the phone up again and that’s when he grabbed me around my neck," Nancie said. "[He] grabbed me around my body and slammed it, and then I slammed him against the wall."

Nancie was able to break free with the help of her boyfriend.

Nancie says her daughter, who was in the shower, heard the tussle and exited the bathroom. She says Menefee locked the front door and attacked her.

"He was on top my daughter in the hallway," Nancie said crying, "laying on my daughter and suffocating her."

According to court documents, Nancie's daughter tried to hit Menefee in the face with a crowbar, but she missed. The teen told detectives that Menefee said that was her one shot and that he was going to kill her.

Documents state Menefee hit the 18-year old in the mouth and cracked her tooth.

When officers entered, they found Menefee in only his underwear.

"I hope that he would die a horrible death, that’s what I told him," she told KATU. "I told him that you're a sick, sick individual, you’re disgusting."

The Portland Police Bureau Detective Division’s Sex Crimes Unit will lead the investigation. Menefee was booked in the Multnomah County Jail on two counts of fourth-degree assault, second-degree assault, two counts of strangulation, first-degree rape, first-degree burglary, first-degree trespass, interfering with making a report and a parole violation for a previous conviction of first-degree robbery.

At his arraignment, Menefee asked the judge to be released for a week to prepare for the case. The judge denied that request citing the nature of the charges.

Menefee also stated he would represent himself at future court proceedings.

He's held at the Multnomah County Jail on more than $750,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 19.

According to court records, Menefee has been convicted of six felonies, some considered violent. He was convicted of armed robbery for holding up a Clackamas County strip club in 2009.

Anyone with information about Menefee should contact Detective Michael Bledsoe at (503) 823-0836 or email Michael.Bledsoe@porlandoregon.gov.

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