A man with a history of violently attacking women in public restrooms has been accused again — this time of an attack inside a church restroom in Kearney on Monday night.
Police arrested 54-year-old Richard Bjorgo of Excelsior Springs after a witness followed him from a Methodist church at 1000 E. Missouri 92.
Clay County prosecutors charged Bjorgo, who has spent time in Kansas and Missouri prisons for similar incidents, with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Arraigned on Wednesday, he is being held on a $100,000 bond.
According to court documents, the victim told police that as she exited a bathroom stall, a stranger grabbed her around her shoulders and neck.
She began fighting, kicking and screaming. She ended up on the floor. The man stabbed at her with a knife. She kicked him in the crotch, and he kicked her twice in the head before he left the bathroom.
Police later noted that an earring had been ripped from the victim’s ear, and she had several cuts on her hands and bruises and scratches on other parts of her body.
Heath Roberts was among about half a dozen other people in the church when the woman came out of the restroom.
“The second I saw her, I knew something bad had happened,” he said Thursday.
She told them she had been attacked and the attacker was “out the door.”
Roberts and two other men sprinted for the door. It was raining and dark, but Roberts saw a car in the parking lot with its dome light on.
The men ran to the car. Roberts grabbed the door handle and pulled, but it was locked. The windows were tinted, so he couldn’t see the driver. Roberts yelled for him to get out. Instead the driver reversed “really fast.”
Roberts jumped in his car and began to follow.
He dialed 911 and reported his location to dispatchers as the driver weaved recklessly through neighborhood streets. At one point, the man went down a cul-de-sac and drove back toward Roberts, who thought he was going to get hit head-on.
“He was driving crazy,” Roberts said.
After about five minutes, police arrived and began tailing the other car, which they pulled over a few minutes later.
Roberts said Thursday that he didn’t have time to consider the possible danger at the time. He was just focused on preventing the person from escaping.
“I did what anybody would do,” he said.
Police said they found a utility knife in Bjorgo’s pocket when he was arrested.
According to court documents, when Bjorgo was questioned after his arrest, he said he had been smoking methamphetamine and had stopped at the church to use the bathroom. When he saw the woman, he said he thought she was “cute” and wanted to see and touch her breasts.
In 1993, Bjorgo was armed with a knife when he confronted a woman inside the restroom of a south Kansas City restaurant. He did not physically harm her. He was placed on probation.
A year later, he surprised a 20-year-old woman inside an Olathe grocery store restroom and attempted to strangle her with a rope. The woman fought back and pulled the rope from his hands. A Johnson County jury found Bjorgo guilty of attempted murder. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
He was released from prison in 2001, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.
In 2003, Jackson County prosecutors charged him with attacking a female employee in the restroom of a Blue Springs restaurant. He dragged her into a restroom, where he struck and choked her before fleeing.
After pleading guilty to burglary and felonious restraint, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in that case in 2008.
The Star’s Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report.