Homeless man charged with choking woman with her underwear

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — A homeless man was caught beating a woman along the concrete levee wall on South River Street early Thursday, court papers say.

Police allege James Robert Adams, 38, choked the woman with her underwear and sexually assaulted her.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police initially responded to a report that a man was beating a woman in the area of South Pennsylvania Avenue and East Northampton Street at about 11:35 p.m. Officers were not able to find anyone fighting.

Less than an hour later, police received information that two people were fighting — with one of them yelling “stop” — behind shrubs along the levee wall on South River Street.

An officer approached the levee wall and heard a man telling a woman, “Shut the (expletive) up,” and heard the woman crying.

When the officer announced “Police,” the woman repeatedly yelled, “Thank God.”

Police said Adams had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. After he was handcuffed, officers found a syringe and a glass pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana in his backpack.

Adams told the officer he used heroin about two days ago.

The woman had significant swelling on her face and bruises on her arms and back.

She claimed Adams began arguing with her Wednesday and they later separated.

Later Wednesday night, she exited Genetti’s on East Market Street after visiting a friend. She claimed Adams was across the street yelling at her.

She walked to a Turkey Hill where she claimed Adams ran up to her and dragged her along South Pennsylvania Avenue, all the while kicking and punching her and smashed her cell phone on the ground.

Eventually, she said Adams forced her behind shrubs along the levee wall where he choked her with her underwear and sexually assaulted her.

Police said they recovered the woman’s damaged cell phone, her wallet and a prescription bottle with Adams’ name on it near a gazebo behind the Catholic Youth Center.

The woman was treated at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Adams was arraigned by District Judge Ferris Webby in Luzerne County Central Court on two counts each of simple assault and possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count each of strangulation, indecent assault, harassment and drunkenness. He was jailed for lack of $30,000 bail.

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By Ed Lewis

[email protected]