Man accused of assaulting co-worker in freezer

January 21, 2009 12:35:22 PM PST
A 22-year-old grocery store employee pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday to assaulting a female co-worker in a store freezer last weekend, a deputy district attorney said today.

Esgar Rudy Gonzalez is charged with one count of assault with attempt to commit rape, one count of sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of felony assault for the Sunday attack at the South San Francisco market where he and the woman worked, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The woman had just entered the walk-in freezer to put her lunch away when Gonzalez allegedly closed and locked the door behind her, according to Wagstaffe.

Gonzalez kept her locked in the freezer for two minutes, then opened the door and went inside, Wagstaffe said.

She tried to push past him but he blocked her path, pushed her onto some boxes, and tried to remove her clothes, Wagstaffe said.

Another co-worker saw the struggle and shouted for Gonzalez to stop. Gonzalez fled the area but was arrested after the victim reported the attack to police, Wagstaffe said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges, according to Wagstaffe.

Gonzalez remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing Jan. 30.