PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Palo Alto police on Wednesday announced the weekend arrest of a man suspected of sexually assaulting an elderly homeless woman in a downtown parking lot.

According to a release issued by authorities, on Friday evening at about 9:18 p.m., police dispatch received a call from the victim — a woman in her seventies — reporting harassment by a man known to her that was happening on an ongoing basis at Cogswell Plaza on Lytton Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

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The woman said the man was not present at the time. Responding officers met the victim, who lives in the downtown area with all her belongings, and interviewed her about the harassment.

She told police that at around 10 p.m. on the prior Monday, she was sleeping in City Parking Lot “C” on Ramona Street next to Cogswell Plaza. She said she was awoken by the suspect, whom she knew from previous interactions on the street.

The woman told police the suspect demanded sexual intercourse from her and she refused. The suspect proceeded to punch and kick her before holding her down as he sexually assaulted her. The suspect fled the scene on foot when a car drove into the parking lot.

The victim told police she sustained no physical injury beyond pain as a result of being kicked.

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On Saturday morning at about 8:45 a.m., officers conducting a follow-up investigation in the area with the victim located the suspect walking down the street and arrested him without incident.

Police booked 58-year-old East Palo Alto resident Anthony Ray Drayton into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for multiple felonies including assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration, elder abuse, false imprisonment and criminal threats.

Palo Alto sexual assault suspect Anthony Ray Drayton (Palo Alto Police Department)

Police said the suspect is on post-release community supervision out of San Mateo County for a prior conviction of felony assault on a police officer. Drayton has been placed on a probation hold.

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Anyone with information about the case is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.