Local News

Real estate agent afraid to contact police after attack

Posted September 8, 2009 12:03 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2009 11:08 p.m. EDT

— A real estate agent allegedly raped while showing a house in Cary was afraid to call police after the attack, according to a 911 call released on Tuesday.

Michael Edward Sleeman, 33, of 5912 Holland Farms Way in Raleigh, is charged with one count each of first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping. He was being held Tuesday 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.

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

In the 911 call, the man, who identified himself as a coworker, described the victim as hysterical. He said she contacted him and was afraid to call authorities because her attacker said if she called the police “he’d come back and get her.”

"I told her she had to call the police," the caller told the dispatcher.

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.

Local real estate agents said the incident has caused them to review their safety practices.

"If I am forced to meet someone out at a property, I always take someone with me. It's a choice that I've made in my business," local real estate agent Connie Floyd said Tuesday. "Fortunately, I've built most of my business out of referrals, so I make an effort not to meet strangers out at properties."

Next week is Realtor Safety Week, according to the NC Association of Realtors. The association advises real estate agents to never host an open house alone or show a property alone at night and always find out as much as possible about a potential home buyer.