A transient pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he kidnaped, assaulted and tried to rape a 71-year-old woman in a Glendale church, authorities said.
Filiberto Gutierrez Maldonado, 34, entered his plea during an arraignment before Glendale Municipal Commissioner Daniel Calabro. The commissioner scheduled Aug. 17 to set a preliminary hearing date.
Earlier Thursday, Maldonado was charged with three felony counts of kidnaping for purposes of rape, assault with intent to commit rape and attempted rape, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Nishinaka. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 11 years in state prison.
"He didn't know the victim. It's a random attack," Nishinaka said. "We don't even know if it (Filiberto Maldonado) is his true name."
Maldonado's public defender, Stuart Rosen, did not return a phone call.
Investigators believe Maldonado was the man who confronted an elderly Glendale woman Tuesday night as she prayed inside Incarnation Roman Catholic Church, 1001 N. Brand Blvd. The woman told police someone touched her and as she looked up, a man grabbed her, gave her a "bear hug" and dragged her to the women's restroom near the rear of the church.
The man was attempting to sexually assault the woman when the Rev. Robert Folbrecht, responding to the woman's screams, burst into the restroom and pulled the attacker away, police said. The suspect fled the scene.
Maldonado was arrested 20 minutes later by police a few blocks away.
Folbrecht declined to comment about what happened and whether church officials have decided to upgrade security.
Maldonado remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail.