Police arrest 15 year old for sex assaults


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com |

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Police believe they have seized the sexual deviant that has terrorized southeast Queens for the past month – and he is not even out of high school.

The NYPD arrested a 15-year-old black male on October 23 who they consider to be responsible for the recent pattern of sexual attacks in the area.

“We’re confident that he is the person we’ve been looking for,” said Chief James Secreto, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South.

The Queens Special Victims Unit identified the perpetrator in a surveillance video they received from a store, during which the teenager was recognized wearing his distinct Polo jacket with a tiger on the back.

The suspect, who is a resident of Springfield Gardens, has already been identified by two victims whom he allegedly assaulted earlier this month in Laurelton.

The first incident occurred at approximately 1:18 a.m. on October 9, when the pervert approached a 40-year-old female, pushed her to the ground, repeatedly punched her in the face and attempted to rape her. The victim suffered a myriad of injuries, including severe bruising to her eyes, lacerations to the inside of her mouth, a nasal fracture requiring surgery, a laceration to her cheek requiring stitches, severe abrasions to both of her knees requiring debridement and contusions and swelling to the rear of her head.

According to the charges, the suspect also attacked a 24-year-old female on the evening of October 16, approaching her from behind and placing her in a headlock before repeatedly striking her in the back of the head and face. The victim reportedly suffered a lacerated lip, lacerations to the inside of her mouth, bruising, swelling and pain to her face and bruising and contusions to the rear of her head.

“The defendant is accused of prowling the streets and preying on vulnerable women,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “The offenses that the defendant is accused of committing are crimes of violence that posed a serious threat to public safety and which warrant vigorous prosecution.”

The perpetrator has been charged with two counts of attempted rape, one count of attempted sexual abuse, one count of sexual abuse, two counts of sexually motivated assault, one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury and one count of sexually motivated assault with a weapon.

He was arraigned on October 24, and his bail was set at $150,000. The suspect’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 28.

Due to his age, the teenager faces two and two-thirds to eight years in prison if convicted as a juvenile offender.

The suspect is also being placed in numerous other lineups to investigate his connection to the string of incidents in the area.

There have been five sexual attacks in southeast Queens this month, the first occurring on September 22, when a 44-year-old female was sexually assaulted while she entered her home in Queens Village. Three of the five incidents were against women getting off the Q85 bus at 225th Street.

On October 13, a 20-year-old woman was raped in the vicinity of 108th Drive and Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica. The suspect has been described as a black male between the ages of 20 and 23, approximately 180 pounds, sporting a Caesar-style haircut, a black bandana, a black, waist-length, leather jacket and dark jeans.

The attacks have caused widespread public outrage and fear, and community leaders are emphasizing the importance of remaining safe by being aware.

“It is starting to get darker earlier and it is important that people know how to keep safe when walking home,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “There have been five reported sexual assault cases this month alone, and we want to put a stop to this rising trend.”

A town hall meeting addressing the incidents was held on October 24 at the Robert Johnson Family Life Center in Jamaica.

During the meeting, NYPD Community Affairs and Special Victims Units of the 103rd, 105th and 113th Precincts answered questions and informed residents of safety awareness techniques.

Officials also referenced the closure of the Baisley Park Houses Community Center in Jamaica, which left kids with one less place to congregate safely.

“We need to respond as a community to try to take our children back,” said Comrie. “We can’t rely on our government.”

John Chiam of Crime Prevention urged people not to openly display cell phones or any technological devices while walking home and emphasized the importance of community involvement in assisting the police.

Dennis Chambers, the owner of Zen Masters Dojo on Linden Boulevard, led a group of children and women in a demonstration of self defense, and Safe Horizons, a victim assistance agency, provided people with whistles.

Additional reporting by Alexa Altman.