Early morning sexual assault reported at Chattanooga hotel

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -(WDEF) A Chattanooga man was arrested early Monday morning after a woman reported to police that she was sexually assaulted and held against her will.

Stephen Ponikarski, 33, of Chattanooga was charged with assault, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

According to the arrest affidavit, the incident took place inside a room at the Hamilton Inn.

The victim told police that Ponikarski was a friend of her ex-boyfriend and that he was getting off work at the Mapco in the 2700 block of Rossville Blvd.  According to the victim, Ponikarski asked her for a ride to the Hamilton Inn which is located next to the Mapco. She told police she agreed to give him a lift because he had a large amount of beer that he was attempting to carry to the motel.

According to the victim, she helped Ponikarski carry the beer up to a room on the second floor. She said he began drinking beer then when she attempted to leave the room; he refused to let her out unless she gave him a kiss.

The victim told police that she refused to give in to Ponikarski’s demands so he forcefully kissed her then pushed her down into a chair where she said he hit her in the mouth. She said she pushed Ponikarski back then ran out the door.

The officer who took the report noted that he observed a cut on the victim’s lower lip.

Ponikarski was taken into custody without incident.

His bond was set at $10,000.

Categories: Crime, Local News

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