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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Homeless man in Spring Hill charged with battering woman, deputies say

Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: June 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM

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A man who was living in the woods in Spring Hill was arrested Monday on charges that he battered a woman and resisted deputies, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Steve Szczepanik, 51, approached a woman who was sitting outside her front door smoking a cigarette about 3 p.m., deputies said.

Szczepanik began to ask her personal, sexual questions and the woman told him to leave the property multiple times, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

Szczepanik moved into a position that cornered the woman, picked up a peacock feather that was laying on the ground and rubbed it on her face while making sexually explicit remarks, the report said.

Szczepanik asked about the genitalia of the woman’s 3-year-old son while continuing to rub her face with the feather and stroking her arm with his free hand, according to the report.

The woman was able to run past Szczepanik and into her home, where she called authorities.

Deputies found Szczepanik hiding behind a tree in the woods beside the victim’s home.

When questioned by deputies, Szczepanik said he had a conversation with the victim and said she was “very beautiful,” deputies said. He said he decided to make the woods his new home because it has a “great view,” and on the way to jail, he said he thought the woman was pretty and wished he could “get a little piece,” according to the report.

Szczepanik was still holding the feather and said the woman gave it to him so he could “make a woman feel good,” the report said.

Szczepanik then stood up and tried to run away but deputies took control of him and arrested him.

A neighbor who lives across the street told deputies she heard the woman yell several times for Szczepanik to leave her home. The woman’s tone sounded scared, the neighbor told deputies.

Szczepanik has a long arrest record in Hernando County, including charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a weapon, drug possession and resisting an officer.

Earlier this month, a suspect matching Szczepanik description attacked a young girl and attempted to sexually batter her within a block of Monday’s incident, deputies said.

Szczepanik was taken to Hernando County Detention Center and was being held on $5,000 bond.

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