Investigators say 24-year-old Shawn Funt grabbed the girl as she walked behind her mother Monday night in Arendtsville, Adams County.
State police in Gettysburg tell WHTM-TV that Funt dragged the girl to a nearby yard where he choked her.
The victim told police Funt told her to be quiet, but she screamed anyway.
Investigators say the girl's mother heard her daughter's screams and went to her aid.
Trooper Michele Davis says children should always make noise in a situation like this.
"Kids know when something is wrong, they have a sense just like adults do," she said. "I always encourage parents of children to tell them - if somebody tries to confront you, scream or run away."
Troopers say Funt fled on foot but was soon arrested on charges including simple assault.
The WHTM report says Funt was on probation at the time of the alleged attack. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
His criminal record includes burglary and DUI charges.
It was not clear if Funt had an attorney.
Information from: WHTM-TV, http://www.whtm.com