Local News

Real estate agent raped in Cary home

Posted September 7, 2009 11:38 a.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2009 10:59 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man has been charged with raping a real estate agent on Sunday while she was showing him a house in Cary, police said.

Michael Edward Sleeman, 33, of 5912 Holland Farms Way, is charged with one count each of first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping. He was being held Monday in the Wake County jail under a $2 million. bond.

Lt. John Szymeczek of the Cary Police Department said Sleeman asked the woman to see homes in the West Lake community, which is under development off West Lake Road. After she showed him one home, he asked to see something smaller, and she took him to another home in the development, police said.

Once inside the home on Blue Thorn Drive, he pulled out a knife and attacked the woman, Szymeczek said. She told investigators that her attacker restrained her and threatened her, and she said he also told her he was a convicted sex offender.

"He did use restraints during the course of the assault – bound her so that she was unable to move about freely – and displayed a weapon and threatened to harm her with it," Szymeczek said. "All sex offenders have a predatory nature, but this was pretty calculated."

The woman said she was allowed to leave in her car, and she called a friend, who called police.

Residents on an adjacent cul-de-sac said they didn't see or hear anything Sunday afternoon. Several who have lived in the neighborhood for only a few weeks said they were concerned that such a violent crime occurred in the area.

"I was actually shocked. It's a pretty quiet, low-key neighborhood," resident Debbie Danner said.

West Lake, which is located across the street from Middle Creek Elementary School, is being developed by D.R. Horton. There are about 100 single-family lots and a townhouse complex in the development, with homes starting at $240,000.

When Sleeman registered in West Lake's model home, he gave some accurate details of his identity, and Sgt. Marcus Pearson was able to piece that information together with information from North Carolina's sex offender registry to track Sleeman to his home, Szymeczek said.

"Officers went to talk with him, and I'm not sure I would call it an outright confession, but he certainly gave enough information to make probable cause for an arrest," he said.

Sleeman pleaded guilty in 2002 to aggravated sexual battery in Virginia and was placed on probation. In North Carolina, he was arrested in 1998 on a charge of assault on a female and again in 2003 on a charge of soliciting for prostitution. Both of those charges were dismissed.

He has lived in Raleigh for several years with his wife and mother. Susan Sleeman declined to comment Monday on her husband's arrest.

Neighbors said someone put fliers in their mailboxes shortly after he moved in noting that he was a registered sex offender.

"It's very disappointing that someone so close by could be capable of such a thing," neighbor Thomas Guettler said.