EDMONTON – An Edmonton man has pleaded guilty to a string of attacks that left Terwillegar residents on edge for months.
Mark Moriarty, 32, pleaded guilty Monday to three assaults on women in the city’s southwest between June 2012 and June 2014, and to sexually assaulting five others while they slept.
In the first assault case, a 30-year-old woman was arriving home in the Terwillegar area after finishing work just before 4 a.m. As she reached into her car for her purse, Moriarty grabbed her in a choke hold.
She told police she thought she was going to die and fought back.
“[He] took me to the ground…choked me ’til I blacked out…then all I remember is him tearing my underwear off…ripped it right off me.”
The attack lasted three to four minutes before Moriarty ran to a nearby truck and drove away.
In May 2014, Moriarty attacked a 14-year-old girl who was walking in an alley near 53rd Avenue and 144th Street, just after 2 p.m. He grabbed her around the neck and covered her mouth, forcing her to the ground. She struggled for several seconds before he abruptly ran away.
Later, she described the attack for police:
“I remember him twisting my neck… Then he tries even harder as I’m struggling and kicking and thrashing and then he wrapped both arms around my neck and I can’t speak very much because I’m sort of choking.”
“Then after a while I push him away… I gasp a few gulps then he chokes me again and I can’t breathe again. I push him off me and he gets up and runs.”
The girl also told police she thought she was going to die.
Less than two months later, Moriarty attacked a 21-year-old woman as she walked towards a store near West Edmonton Mall, just before midnight. Wearing a mask that covered his nose and mouth, he grabbed her and pushed her to the ground. She screamed for help as Moriarty put both arms around her neck and strangled her. A passerby interrupted the attack, yelling at Moriarty, but was unable to catch him when he ran away.
Moriarty became a suspect in those attacks after he was arrested and charged in a separate sexual assault in December 2014.
Police seized a fork Moriarty had used at a restaurant to obtain DNA, which matched evidence in the three assault cases.
The sexual assaults on sleeping women came to light in February of this year, when Moriarty called a friend from jail, asking him to throw away a tote bag from under his bathroom sink.
The friend did not throw it away, and police seized a USB stick from the bag, which revealed photos of sleeping women.
In four cases, Moriarty exposed the women by moving or removing covers or articles of clothing, and in three cases Moriarty exposed himself in photos with the women.
Along with sexual assault charges for those crimes, he also pleaded guilty to five counts of voyeurism, and one of attempting to obstruct justice.
Moriarty returns to court on Nov. 9 to set a date for sentencing.