Man accused of attacking woman in restroom while wearing Barbie costume pleads not guilty

SAN DIEGO - A probationer who was wearing a pink tutu when he allegedly attacked a woman in a toilet stall at a Big Lots store in Clairemont pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four felony charges, including assault with intent to commit rape.

Gregory Phillip Schwartz, 40, was ordered held on $110,000 bail. He faces seven years in prison if convicted.

Schwartz was arrested around 5:40 p.m. last Sunday in the area of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Diane Avenue.

About 40 minutes earlier, San Diego police Lt. Chuck Kaye said, a woman who had entered a toilet stall in the Big Lots store at 4829 Clairemont Drive was "confronted by a male who had crawled under the stall she occupied." The victim told 10News that when he attacked her, he was wearing a Barbie costume.

Surveillance video showed the man was wearing "a tutu-type thing" he took from the store, Kaye said earlier. "The suspect grabbed her and attempted to sexually assault her."

The woman fought back and screamed for help before escaping from the bathroom and telling employees what had happened, he said.

The suspect ran out of the store and used a screwdriver to threaten a security officer who confronted him before escaping, Kaye alleged.

In addition to assault with intent to commit rape, Schwartz is charged with false imprisonment by violence, assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon.

"Based on the charges and what happened in the case, we're taking it very seriously as a public risk," prosecutor Mary-Ellen Barrett said outside court. "And thankfully, the victim came out fine. She's injured and she's scared, but she will recover, which is all we want."

Barrett said Schwartz was on probation for a 2010 conviction for misdemeanor child endangerment and possession of rock cocaine.

Judge Michael Smyth scheduled a readiness conference for March 14.

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