Sex offender convicted in attack on St. Louis property manager

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - He was convicted of attempted rape and the prosecutor who helped deliver the verdict says the victim deserves a great deal of credit.

The attack was a setup. Shawn Akery scheduled a phony appointment to view a downtown loft. When he met the person showing the unit, the 2014 meeting turned to terror.

St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorney Kristyn Skelly said Akery told the victim, “We can do this the hard way, or the easy way.”

The victim’s instinct was to fight back. She kneed Akery in the groin.

“He grabbed her, threw her down on the ground, tackled her down to the ground, covered her mouth, tried to stop her from screaming,” said Skelly. “She continued to fight back and screamed. He ran away.”

The victim testified at Akery’s trial. The previously convicted sex offender was convicted of attempted rape in the first-degree and two other counts related to violating his parole. Akery was ordered to wear an ankle monitoring device because of an attempted forcible rape conviction. The attack came two months after he was released from prison. Skelly says surveillance video from a casino shows Akery removed the device after the attack.

“The victim in this case was extremely brave. She went through a terrifying experience,” Skelly said. “I give her much praise for the way that she handled it and went through this entire process.”

The St. Louis Association of Realtors urges all real estate agents to practice safeguards when dealing with strangers and offers the following advice:

• Never meet someone you don’t know at a property. Instead, arrange to meet them at the office first and make a copy of their driver’s license to leave behind.

• If you can, take someone with you to show a property. If you can’t, then let a colleague know you’ll be showing the property, give them the address and when you expect to return or check in.

• Avoid putting agent photos on ‘for sale’ signs.

• Consider using a mobile safety app that alerts others when you’re in danger.