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Bastrop Police say man knocking on doors asking to pray attempted to rape woman

The Bastrop Police Department is searching for a man they say attempted to sexually assault a woman on Tuesday evening. (Photo: CBS Austin)

A Bastrop woman is expected to be released from an Austin hospital tonight -- after a horrific attack in her own home. Bastrop police are looking for her attacker and they have stepped up patrols, but that man remains on the loose tonight.

Meantime, people who live in the small complex of duplexes in Bastrop where the attack happened Tuesday evening are reeling after their neighbor was attacked in her own home. "It shouldn't have happened. This is a nice town," said neighbor and friend Jo Green.

Green stepped out onto her porch to have a cigarette just before the attack and saw a man she thinks is the attacker. "It was around 6, 6:30," she said. "It's hard to put your finger on it. He just didn't look right. Because he didn't belong." Green says most people recognize each other in the tight-knit community, and she had never seen the man before.

Bastrop police say he was going door to door in the complex, asking people if he could come inside and pray. After several neighbors turned him away, police say he walked into the victim's apartment, and attempted to sexually assault her. He is described as a black man in his 20s, who is about 5' 10" tall and very thin. Green says he was wearing dark pants and a light-colored shirt. He was carrying a black book.

James Coy lives across the street from the complex and is married to the victim's caretaker. "I came home from work and I got here like 6:15, 6:20 and I look and I see a police officer pull up to the front side," he said. Later, when he heard someone had been attacked, he thought he knew who the victim was. He was right. "Right away we thought it was her. And she's always leaving her doors unlocked."

But leaving doors unlocked is now a thing of the past on Wilson Street. "They think it's safe. And I told Anna I don't care if it's safe or not, always be on your guard," Coy said. And Green says her sense of safety in a small town is ruined. "So now I'm locking my door. And I peek out my window to see who's there," she said. "This shouldn't have happened. And I don't want to see it happen again."

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