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Latrobe-area man charged with assaulting woman along Unity Township walking path

A Latrobe-area man is charged with an attempted rape and assault of a

woman Sept. 4 on a walking trail in Unity.

Luke W. Hoover, 20, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of attempted rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, stalking and strangulation filed by state police in connection with the incident on the walking path of the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, near the campus of Saint Vincent College.

According to an affidavit filed by Trooper John Zalich before Ligonier District Judge Denise Thiel, Hoover was identified as a suspect through a photograph taken from a nearby video surveillance camera.

Zalich reported the alleged incident occurred about 6:30 p.m., according to the victim.

The incident caused the college to put out an alert to students on campus, according to court documents.

Zalich reported that the victim told authorities that Hoover grabbed her around the neck from behind while she walked on the trail, “shutting off her airway and began pulling her to the ground.”

“The victim began to fight and got away from Hoover,” Zalich wrote in the affidavit.

The incident initially was reported to campus security, who then called state police.

In an interview with Zalich, the affidavit said Hoover told troopers “he only wanted to talk to the girl and that was all.”

Thiel ordered Hoover held in the Westmoreland County Prison after he failed to post $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled Jan. 23 before Thiel.

Originally published on January 9 by the Tribune-Review.

Photos: Tribune-Review

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