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Court holds woman who claims rape

She claims the man sexually mutilated her. She was ready to tell her story Monday morning.

But Hillsborough Judge Claudia Isom wasn't ready, and the woman was being insistent. So the judge ordered her detained, and the bailiff slapped handcuffs on her.

"Would you believe it?" the woman would later complain. "I'm trying my best to do the right thing."

It hasn't been easy.

The woman walked out of a meeting with attorneys Jan. 4, insisting public defender John Fernandez was too abrasive. She also objected to his line of questioning, saying she felt victimized again.

Since then, she had refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

A second woman, who says the same man raped her, also disappeared. Without witnesses, authorities feared the suspect, 54-year-old George Edward Wright, would go free.

Last week, Isom issued arrest warrants for both women. She wanted them to explain why they have failed to give depositions, which are required by law to give the defense an opportunity to prepare for trial.

The woman who walked out in January came to court Monday on her own. After a brief detention, Isom appointed an attorney to advise her of the legal proceedings.

The woman agreed to a second deposition, which lasted almost three hours. A status hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The woman told reporters she had failed to attend previous hearings because of personal problems.

But she said she was ready for trial.

"I don't want him to walk the streets after he did this to me," the woman said. "This shouldn't happen to anybody _ man or woman.

"There's no word to describe him."

According to police, the woman was walking on Nebraska Avenue in the early morning of Oct. 6 when Wright abducted her. He drove her to a parking lot and assaulted her with a knife.

The woman escaped and called police.

Minutes later, police say, Wright picked up the second woman on Nebraska Avenue by offering her $15 for oral sex.

That woman also was attacked with a knife, police say.

Wright, who has an extensive criminal record, including arrests on theft and drug charges, has spent a short time in prison.

Twice before he has been arrested on sexual battery charges.

Both times the charges were dropped.

Assistant state attorney Cynthia Heir said prosecutors have been pursuing both women with vigor because Wright "has a violent propensity," and there is a "likelihood that he would commit some kind of act that would be similar."

The woman who stepped forward Monday said victims of rape should not be afraid to go to trial, even though some might have seen her on television in handcuffs.

"All will work out in due time," she said.

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