Tag Archives: Rape

Queen’s Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Boy, 14, drowns

A Queens teen drowned in the treacherous waters off Far Rockaway yesterday after going to the beach with pals and jumping in the ocean to celebrate the last day of classes. One buddy tried desperately to save 14 year-old Akeem Craig after he was carried out by a wave — and is haunted by being unable to do so. Read more: [New York Post]

Elmhurst Woman Fatally Stabbed

Police are investigating the Monday night stabbing death of a woman in Elmhurst, Queens. Investigators responded to a 911 call at an apartment building on Hampton Street shortly before 9 p.m. Monday. Read more: [NY1]

Plan to extend natural gas pipeline through Rockaways get chilly reception

A plan to extend an underwater natural gas pipeline beneath a national park in the Rockaways is getting a chilly reception from environmentalists. An informational meeting on the $265 million Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project is slated for Wednesday in Rockaway Park. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Bloody killer went to bodega for 2 beers and then came back to buy Band-Aids, worker says

A callous killer who bought a couple of beers after murdering his girlfriend, circled back for Band-Aids, a Queens bodega worker said. Shawqi Algahim, 33, was behind the counter shortly before 9 p.m. Monday at Jazmina Grocery on Hampton St. in Elmhurst when a man covered in gore paid for two cans of Coors Light. Read more: [New York Daily News]

New Caribbean Cultural Exhibit Spans Three City Museums

The new exhibit “Caribbean: Crossroads Of The World,” which is being presented at three city museums, is bringing four centuries of Caribbean history and culture to New Yorkers. The exhibit, which is being shown at the El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, the Queens Museum of Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem, features 500 works of Caribbean art. Read more: [NY1]

Cops bust man in alleged Queens rape

Police captured a sicko wanted for raping a woman in Queens, authorities said. Samuel Doctor, 22, allegedly approached the 64-year-old victim in Rockaway Beach about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, cops said. He is accused of forcing her to the ground at the corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 91st Street, and raping her, authorities said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

Ex-cop sentenced to 75 years in prison for teacher sex assault


| jlane@queenscourier.com


A monstrous ex-cop was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison this morning — the maximum allowed by law — for drunkenly pulling his service weapon on a terrified young schoolteacher last summer, dragging her into an Inwood alley, threatening to “blow your f—ing face off” and repeatedly sexually violating her. The sentence for the brutal, off-duty attack left the victim collapsing in sobs of anguished triumph in the front row of Manhattan Supreme Court. Read More: New York Post

New sexual conduct legislation introduced


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Assemblymember Aravella Simotas has introduced a new bill that would define rape as sexual conduct rather than sexual intercourse, preventing criminals from escaping charges on a “technicality.” The assemblymember’s actions come in response to the State Supreme Court Justice’s declaration of a mistrial on the rape charge against former New York City Police Officer Michael Pena, who was convicted of several other charges for holding a Bronx school teacher at gunpoint, threatening her life and forcibly sodomizing her, but not convicted of the top count of rape.

No verdict was reached on the rape charge despite evidence of the defendant’s semen in the victim’s underwear, eyewitness testimony and the victim’s own account. The current law states a rape charge requires an element of penetration.

“Common sense dictates that what happened to the victim in this case is rape,” said Simotas.

The proposed legislation re-defines the crimes of rape in the first, second and third degrees to include oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct and aggravated sexual contact, in addition to sexual intercourse, as an element of rape charges.

“Pena and his defense team found a way to get away with rape,” Simotas said. “This legislation will ensure that no other victim will face the same indignity that this Bronx schoolteacher suffered.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

New crane horror: Worker dies in W. Side collapse at subway pit

A construction worker was killed and three of his colleagues were injured last night when a crane collapsed at the No. 7 train subway-extension construction site on the West Side, authorities said. The accident occurred at around 7:20 p.m. at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue when two pieces of the crane — 80- and 40-foot sections — became dislodged and fell into the below-ground site and onto the workers, officials said. Read More: New York Post

French Academic Found Dead In His Midtown Hotel Room

Police were investigating late Tuesday the death of prominent French academic found inside a Midtown hotel room. Richard Descoings, 54, was discovered in his bed at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say hotel security went to his room after he did not check out. Sources say Descoings was found naked and his computer and phone were thrown from the seventh floor window. They also say police are looking for people who may have come into his room during the overnight hours. Read More: NY1

 

Off-Duty School Safety Agent Awaits Arraignment On Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent was awaiting arraignment Monday after being arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Sources say Johnson raped his ex-girlfriend in Brooklyn over the weekendJohnson currently lives in Ridgewood, Queens, where neighbors say he resides with his mother. Read More: NY1

 

Woman Dies Following Cooking Accident In Jackson Heights Home

A woman died Monday following an apparent cooking accident in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. The New York City Fire Department says they responded to a 911 call Monday morning for a woman in cardiac arrest. Fire officials believe the woman was severely burned when her sleeve caught on fire while cooking. They say she then went into the hallway, where she went into cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: NY1

 

Key approval is won for Willets Point project

The city has won a key approval for its massive Willets Point redevelopment, dealing a blow to local property owners who hoped to delay or even halt the project. The Federal Highway Administration ruled that ramps proposed for the Van Wyck Expressway would have “no significant impact” on the surrounding area, according to a letter sent to the state Department of Transportation late last month and released Monday by city officials. Read More: Crain’s New York Business

 

NYPD investigating image on Al Qaeda forums as possible threat to New York City

A graphic featuring the New York skyline and posted on terrorism websites blares a chilling message in bold letters: “Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York.” The NYPD and the FBI are scrambling to locate the source of the message and trying to figure out whether it’s a credible threat or a sick taunt. The 3-D images spotted on Al Qaeda Internet forums Monday show the letters scrawled across a city street, as a father and son stroll by in amazement. Read More: Daily News

 

Authorities still looking for motive in Oakland shooting rampage at small Christian college that left seven dead

One wounded woman cowered in the bushes after the gunman opened fire on the campus of a small Christian university. One student hid in a locked classroom as the shooter banged on the door. Another heard the shots and ran to safety. All within an hour Monday, police said, a 43-year-old former student named One L. Goh walked into Oikos University, and began a rampage that left seven people dead and three people wounded, trapped some in the building and forced others to flee for their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

 

‘Rape’ victim dad’s anguish

Don’t let your daughters move to New York City. That’s the heart-wrenching advice of the father of a city schoolteacher who is still devastated after being sexually assaulted at gunpoint by an off-duty cop last summer. “It’s a dangerous city,” said the dad, whose name and location are being withheld to protect the identity of his 25-year-old daughter. “When things like this happen, it just makes you think twice,” the dad told The Post from his small, out-of-state farm. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Handyman Convicted Of Murder Of Manhattan Building Cleaner

A handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct was convicted of second-degree murder Monday. After deliberating for two days, jurors also found Joseph Pabon, 27, guilty of first-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Pabon smothered 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez with industrial tape in July 2009. Read More: NY1

 

Boy, 10, shot in Williamsburg

A 10-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet in Williamsburg late last night, police said. The child was with his father below the elevated subway tracks on Broadway near the Hewes Street station at around 10:55 p.m., when teens down the block began arguing, cops and witnesses said. “Ten or 15 people [were] fighting. I called 911 when I heard the gunshots, two or three shots,” said Baruch Bing, 23, who lives near the shooting scene. Read More: New York Post

Koch endorses Queens House pol

Ed Koch’s legendary clout with Jewish voters is about to be tested again. Hoping to repeat his kingmaker role from a closely watched congressional race six months ago, the outspoken ex-mayor yesterday threw his support behind Assemblyman Rory Lancman in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination in Queens’ 6th Congressional District. He called Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley “first rate” but said he preferred Lancman’s position on Israel. Read More: New York Post

Prosecutors want ‘Millionaire Madam’ lawyers to zip it 

A Manhattan judge is weighing prosecutors’ demand to bar lawyers for accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina from publicly discussing some of the most sensational evidence in the case. Gristina, a 44-year-old soccer mom who is being held on $2 million bail, was not in court Monday as officials asked for a “protective order” to keep their evidence secret. Read More: Daily News

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

At least five killed in shooting at California medical school

At least five people were killed Monday in a shooting at a medical school in Oakland, Calif., officials confirmed. Oakland police have detained a possible suspect in the shooting at Oikos University. According to local news station KTVU-TV, two of the five people were shot in the head. The motive for the shooting was not immediately known. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens jury convicts man of murder and robbery stemming from home invasion

A Queens man was convicted today for masterminding for three home invasions — one of which ended in the murder of a cop’s brother. Francis LaCorte, 29, was found guilty on all 13 charges — including second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy — for his involvement in the execution-style murder of Gerardo Antoniello, 29, on Sept. 9, 2009. “I hope he’s put away for a very long time and he won’t hurt or kill anyone else’s son, brother or uncle,” said NYPD Sgt. Carmine Antoniello, the victim’s older brother. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Off-Duty School Safety Agent Faces Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent has been arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Police say the incident happened early Monday morning and that the victim is an adult. According to sources, the rape took place inside Johnson’s apartment, and he knew the victim. Read More: NY1

 

 

Woody says Jets would consider ‘Hard Knocks’ again

As if the Jets have not gotten enough attention after trading for Tim Tebow last month, Jets owner Woody Johnson left the door open for the team to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer. There has been speculation that HBO is interested in having the Jets back on its behind-the-scenes show, especially with Tebow now on board. “I’ve heard that,” Johnson said at the grand opening of the NFL Shop at Draft store in Manhattan on Monday. “We have yet to receive a formal invitation. When we do, we’ll take a look at it.” Read More: New York Post

 

 

Man Arraigned In Staten Island Traffic Stop Assault

A man wanted in connection with the assault of a police officer on Staten Island was arraigned Sunday night after being caught by authorities in North Carolina. Police say Dwayne Smith, 27, is back in New York after being picked up at a shopping mall in Charlotte last week. He’s accused of attacking a police officer after being pulled over on February 3 in West Brighton. Read More: NY1

 

Sweets shop is big ‘hit’

There’s a new iceman working at John Gotti’s old social club in Queens — but he serves up sweet, frosty treats instead of gangland murders. Businessman John Conza last month opened Uncle Louie G’s — part of a chain of Italian ice and ice-cream parlors — in the space where the Teflon Don once held court, the former Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park. The site is where the Mafioso made his bones and blasted his way from obscurity to the front pages. Now, its hits are icy flavors such as Soprano Spumoni, FDNY Cherry and NYPD Blue, instead of contracts on union officials and rival gangsters. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Queens Institute Looks To Crack Autism Code

Behind the walls of a former Catholic school in College Point, Queens, miracles often happen for children who have autism. The New York Child Learning Institute is the only program in New York State that is modeled after Princeton’s renowned Children Development Intervention Program. Read More: NY1

 

JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon out of hospital — and into courtroom

The JetBlue pilot who went on a wild rant about terrorism and religion during a Las Vegas-bound flight was out of the hospital on Monday to make his first court appearance. Federal prosecutors asked that Clayton Osbon be held without bond at the early morning meeting, but the judge isn’t expected to rule on that until Thursday. Osbon, 49, is charged with interfering with a flight crew for his bizarre unraveling on Flight 191 last Tuesday. Read More: Daily News

Geraldo Rivera personally apologizes to parents of Trayvon Martin for ‘hoodie’ comment

Geraldo Rivera personally apologized to  Trayvon Martin’s parents Sunday night for saying that children shouldn’t wear hoodies because “Trayvon’s hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman did.” “Thank you for the apology. Your apology is accepted,” Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin told Rivera on Fox on Sunday night. Tracy Martin said that at the time of the incident it was raining and Trayvon was just covering himself up. Read More: Daily News

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Crews Battle Lower East Side High-Rise Fire

Members of the New York City Fire Department at this hour are battling a high-rise fire on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Heavy smoke is pouring out of the top floors of 89 Columbia Street. So far, no injuries have been reported. A cause is not yet known. Read More: NY1

 

Queens couple busted after allegedly locking up and abusing disabled woman, taking her money for over a year

A Queens couple was arrested for locking a partially paralyzed woman in a room from hell for more than a year, denied her food and a took advantage of her financially, said prosecutors. Patrick Donovan, 42 and Mae Washington, 63, were charged for convincing Maureen Murray, 58, to move out of her assisted living facility to save her some money, but instead of giving her a safe place to live they abused her and out of fear, she gave them power of attorney over her finances. Read More: New York Post

Jury announces it is deadlocked on rape chargers against ex-cop Michael Pena

On its fifth day of deliberations, a Manhattan jury has deadlocked on the question of whether drunken, now-ex-cop Michael Pena actually raped a terrified schoolteacher during a random gunpoint attack in Inwood last summer. “It’s a deadlock note,” defense lawyer Ephraim Savitt told reporters shortly after noon. The trial judge, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers, has already repeatedly admonished the jury to keep trying, and is expected to release them due to their note. Read More: New York Post

Zimmerman ‘distraught’ over Trayvon shooting: report

The Florida man who blew away an unarmed black teen is “distraught” over the incident and has been praying non-stop for the victim, according to a close family friend. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has been in hiding ever since he gunned down defenseless Trayvon Martin, 17, on the streets of a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. The killing has touched off a heated national dialogue on guns, Florida’s self-defense laws, race and hooded sweatshirts. Read More: New York Post

Knicks say Stoudemire won’t need surgery; out 2-4 weeks

The Knicks have given a timetable for Amar’e Stoudemire, and they expect their star forward to return in 2-4 weeks from the bulging disk in his back. After a second opinion agreed with the Knicks original diagnosis, Stoudemire will undergo non-surgical treatment that will include an epidural steroid injection for the injury he suffered in the win over the Pistons on Saturday. The Knicks also announced that Jeremy Lin would not play on Wednesday against the Magic because of soreness in his left knee. It is the second straight game the point guard will miss. Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks’ Lin meets ex-ESPN worker who wrote offensive headline

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sat down to lunch with the ESPN employee who was fired last month for posting the infamous “Chink in the Armor” headline on the network’s website. According to Newsday, Lin ate with 28-year-old Anthony Federico Tuesday on the team’s off day. Though the Knicks said Wednesday Lin does not want to publicly discuss the meeting, Federico effusively praised the Asian-American star, calling him “a wonderful, humble person.” Read More: New York Post

Mega Millions soars to record $476M jackpot

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to a record $476 million ahead of Friday’s drawing after no one claimed the grand prize Tuesday night. No one has managed to match all six numbers in the multi-state lottery game since January 24, when a Georgia woman collected the $72 million prize. The near half-billion figure dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey. Read More: New York Post

Nike sues Reebok over ‘unauthorized’ Tebow gear

A trademark suit made public today charges Reebok with illegally cashing in on Tebowmania by peddling unauthorized Jets gear bearing the name of the team’s new celebrity quarterback. Nike, which signed Tim Tebow to an exclusive licensing deal in 2010, says Reebok did an end run around around that agreement to capitalize on the “vociferous demand for Tebow Jets products.” Reebok is allegedly “in the process of shipping large volumes of Tebow-identified apparel products” that are expected to hit stores this week. Read More: New York Post

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

JFK pilot rants: ‘Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!’

A veteran JetBlue pilot terrorized a flight from JFK to Las Vegas yesterday and had to be subdued by passengers who tied him up with their own belts as he ranted about al Qaeda and bombs. “Say your prayers . . . We’re all going down!” wild-eyed Capt. Clayton Osbon screamed to frightened travelers, who couldn’t believe the man who had been flying their Airbus A320 had suddenly turned into a raving lunatic. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop sex fiend found guilty

The drunken, off-duty cop who pulled his service weapon on a school teacher in a horrific, random sex attack in upper Manhattan is facing life in prison after a jury found him guilty yesterday of three counts of predatory sexual assault.Michael Pena also was convicted of sexually violating the young woman — a stranger who had been en route to her first day working as a second-grade teacher when the boozed-up cop pulled her into an Inwood back yard and told her he’d shoot her in the face if she screamed or opened her eyes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Being a dad’ doesn’t have to be so risky

Joba Chamberlain knows there is a lesson to be learned here, but it’s not about changing and trying to play it safe and be something you are not as a person, a pitcher or most importantly, a father. Asked last night the lesson learned from his terrible trampoline accident Thursday, which produced a grotesque right ankle/foot injury as Chamberlain was on an outing with his 5-year-old son Karter, the Yankees right-hander answered: “I will never question being a father.” Read More: New York Post

 

Slain teen’s parents tell Congress: Trayvon was your son, too
The grieving parents of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin took their emotional pleas for justice to Capitol Hill yesterday, earning a dignified round of applause from lawmakers and hundreds of spectators. “Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon was your son,” Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, told a congressional panel, organized by the House Judiciary Committee, on racial profiling and controversial “stand your ground” laws. Read More: New York Post

 

Hit on cop shocked killer

A coldblooded killer told in chilling detail yesterday how he and another mob hit man calmly walked up to an NYPD officer — marked for death because he’d married a Mafia bigwig’s ex-wife — and gunned him down outside his Brooklyn house nearly 15 years ago. “What’s up?” housing cop Ralph Dols asked the two men as they approached him on Aug. 25, 1997, one of the killers, mob rat Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, told rapt jurors in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. Read More: New York Post

‘Window’ mom put up a fight

The brave Queens mother who was thrown out of her apartment window by a pair of thugs valiantly tried to fight off the perps in a bid to protect her children, one of her daughters revealed yesterday. Amalia Vargas was sweeping the steps outside her Hollis home Monday when the two bandits, claiming to be plumbers, pushed her inside her 202nd Street home and pulled her by her hair to her second-floor apartment. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s crapshoot

Embattled Comptroller John Liu told key supporters that he definitely won’t seek re-election next year to remain the city’s chief financial officer, sources said. But Liu kept the door ajar for a long-shot mayoral run, despite a federal probe of his campaign fund-raising operation, which has damaged his political standing. “I’m going big — or I’m going home,” Liu told top allies, according to sources privy to the conversations. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Queens super guilty on terror rap

A former Queens building super faces 75 years in jail after being convicted yesterday of plotting to sell weapons to Hezbollah terrorists. Patrick Nayyar, 48, showed no emotion as jurors found him guilty on all counts after about two hours of deliberations in Manhattan federal court. Court-appointed defense lawyer Sam Talkin said he was “disappointed” with the verdict and said Nayyar would appeal. Read More: New York Post

Person In Police Custody In Connection With Fatal Subway Brawl

Police said Tuesday they have someone in custody in connection with a fight last week at a Brooklyn subway station that left another man dead. By late Tuesday, no arrests had been made, and police had not released the name of the suspect. Joshua Basin, 20, got into a fight with a drunken man on Friday night. The two fought at the L train stop at Bedford Avenue and both men wound up falling on the tracks. Read More: NY1

 

Priest sits beside Tommy Gioeli’s wife Maureen during racketeering and murder trial of Colombo gangsters

The Colombo boss’s family priest appears to have taken a vow of silence. Meet “Father Peter,” possibly the only man of the cloth who clams up when asked his name. Over the past week, he has made on-and-off appearances at the racketeering and murder trial of gangsters Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and Dino (Little Dino) Saracino. When he attends, Father Peter sits in the front row next to Gioeli’s wife, Maureen, giving jurors a clear view of his black suit and priest collar. Read More: Daily News

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Fianceé of accused ‘rape’ cop stands by her man during testimony

She knows what he’s charged with — and she still loves him. The petite and pretty brunette fianceé of accused ‘rape’ cop Michael Pena tried to humanize the alleged fiend in testimony at his predatory sex attack trial today — insisting he’s the kind of guy who enjoys family movies, cute cat videos and adorable nicknames. Read More: New York Post

Ex-senator John Edwards denies report he patronized hooker linked to accused Soccer Mom Madam Anna Gristina 

Former Sen. John Edwards is denying a report that he used the services of a call girl employed by accused Soccer Mom Madam Anna Gristina while he was running for President. The woman told investigators that Edwards paid her for sex during a 2007 visit to New York to raise money for his failed White House bid, DNAinfo reported Thursday. Read More: Daily News

 

One construction worker dead, 2 others injured in Harlem building collapse

A worker was crushed to death this morning and two others were injured after a building collapsed in Harlem, authorities said. The construction workers were demolishing the one-story building at 604-606 West 131 Street near Broadway at 7:51 a.m. when the accident occurred, police said. The building, which is owned by Columbia University, is part of a plan on the part of the Ivy League school to expand across a section of upper Manhattan. Read More: New York Post

 

72-year-old man charged with killing neighbor in Brooklyn

Police arrested a 72-year-old Brooklyn man and charged him with killing his neighbor in East Flatbush last night. Cops say Ronald Black shot and killed Cornell Heslop, 43, in the basement of the East 93rd Street home where the two men rented separate rooms, around 10:15 p.m., last night. Heslop was hit in the chest and pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital. Black walked into the 67th precinct around 12:30 a.m. to claim he had been the victim of a robbery, sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

Appeals Court Upholds City’s Plan To Expand Taxi Service

A federal appeals court has given the city a green light to roll ahead with it’s taxi reform plan despite objections from advocates for the disabled. They’re upset 2,000 new taxi medallions are about to be given out to a fleet that is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Taxi and Limousine Commission was ordered to produce a detailed plan on how to remedy the problem. Read More: NY1

 

Rev. Sharpton To Lead Rally In Florida Over Teen’s Shooting

The Reverend Al Sharpton is scheduled to lead a rally in Sanford, Florida today calling for an arrest in the killing of an unarmed teen. He’s traveling with former Governor David Paterson. After the rally, Sharpton will head to Alabama, where his mother passed away this morning. Hundreds gathered yesterday for a rally in Union Square in memory of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin was shot and killed in an Orlando suburb last month by a neighborhood watch captain. George Zimmerman says he shot the teen in self defense after a confrontation. Read More: NY1

 

House-squatter thugs held in kidnapping, rape of Long Island teen


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

House-squatter thugs held in kidnapping, rape of Long Island teen

A gang of sick squatters kidnapped, raped and pimped out a terrified 15-year-old Long Island runaway in a Queens house where they were illegally living, law-enforcement officials said yesterday. And in a bizarre twist, after the owner complained that people were living there illegally, cops went to the Ozone Park house the day before the girl was taken there against her will. Read More: New York Post

Multiple Armed Robberies Connected To “Snub-Nose” Bandit

The New York City Police Department and FBI are stepping up their search for an armed robber who has become increasingly violent. Investigators say the suspect, dubbed the “Snub-Nose Bandit” for his weapon of choice, is connected to at least six incidents in Brooklyn and Queens dating back to September. He mostly targets banks, but in his first robbery he held up a Dunkin Donuts in Greenpoint, firing one round into a tray of donuts as he demanded cash from the register. Read More: NY1

 

DA putting the screws to ‘brothel boss’ Anna Gristina

They pressed her over and over, pushed a list of 10 Big Apple power players at her — and demanded she spill the beans on the roster of real-estate moguls and investment bankers. “Some I knew, some I didn’t,” accused Upper East Side brothel boss Anna Gristina told The Post yesterday about an hours-long grilling she received from Manhattan prosecutors. But they kept pressing, bringing in more and more investigators to intimidate her. Read More: New York Post

FDNY minority  retort – Hit with a $128M ‘bias’ bill

The city could get socked with a bill of up to $128 million to compensate minority applicants who were rejected because of discriminatory hiring practices, a federal judge said yesterday. Judge Nicholas Garaufis first set the compensation pool at $65 million three weeks ago but revised the figure to factor in the “total gross amount of lost wages” for applicants who took the FDNY exam in 1999 or 2002 but were not hired. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s campaign treasurer busted in ‘straw donor’ scheme


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Liu’s campaign treasurer busted in ‘straw donor’ scheme: feds

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasurer was busted today on charges she helped funnel illegal political donations into the Queens Democrat’s war chest. Jia “Jenny” Hou conspired to help wealthy Liu backers evade a $4,950 limit on individual contributions by using “straw donors” to pass along their money, according to the feds. Hou, 25, was allegedly caught offering to reimburse a crooked donation during a series of computer “instant messages” on July 14, and allegedly instructed campaign volunteers on how to make the contributions look legit. Read More: New York Post

 

Third student dies from Ohio high school shooting

The death toll rose to three Tuesday in the shooting rampage in an Ohio high school cafeteria as schoolmates and townspeople grappled with the tragedy and wondered what could have set the teenage gunman off. The teenager under arrest in Monday’s attack, T.J. Lane, faced an afternoon hearing in juvenile court. Shaken residents offered condolences and prayers to the families of those killed and wounded at 1,100-student Chardon High School in suburban Cleveland. All three of the dead were students. Read More: New York Post

 

Waitress claims veteran NYPD detective took advantage of her at Washington Heights restaurant

A waitress says her boss gave her $200 to party with some cops, protested when one put the moves on her in a back room, and then got her underwear back the next day. The 36-year-old woman, whose allegations prompted the NYPD to assign four cops to desk duty, thinks a veteran detective took advantage of her at the Washington Heights restaurant where she worked. But she admits she can’t remember it – because she blacked out. Read More: Daily News

 

Manningham ups odds to ’50-50′ he stays with Giants

Mario Manningham last week, back home in Ohio, was quoted in the Youngstown News that he believes there’s a 75 percent chance he will leave the Giants in free agency and sign elsewhere. Tuesday morning, he refuted that claim. “I didn’t say that,’’ Manningham said on WFAN. “You know how rumors get spread, I didn’t say anything like that.’’ Manningham then increased the odds of him staying with the Giants. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-Girl Scout finance director gets 3 to 9 years for swiping $310K

The former finance director for the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York was sentenced today to three to nine years behind bars after she failed to return a large chunk of the $310,000 she allegedly embezzled over the course of two years. “I apologize for the situation,” said Yaasmin Hooey, 35, during her sentencing hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court. Prosecutors said Hooey stole the money by cashing or depositing into her personal bank account a series of 65 checks written off the Girl Scouts’ payroll account. Read More: New York Post

 

Names Of NYPD First Responders Added To Cancer Study

The names of tens of thousands of New York City POlice Department uniformed officers and civilian members who worked at the World Trade Center are now at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Mayor Michael Bloomberg handed over the names of 39,921 people, along with their job title, age, race, and gender on Monday. This comes after the city initially refused to turn over the information, because of privacy concerns. Mount Sinai is treating the first responders. Read More: NY1

Whitney Houston funeral to be held in Newark: report


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Whitney Houston funeral to be held in Newark: report

A funeral is to be held for Whitney Houston in her hometown of Newark later this week, according to a new report. The pop superstar was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room over the weekend and her body is to be flown across the country as early as Monday night, sources told WNBC. Read More: New York Post

 

To free or not to free ‘killer’

Just two weeks after settling the Greg Kelly rape accusation, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is facing a new and potentially thornier dilemma: Should he free a mann convicted of killing a former cop? That’s what members of his inner circle are debating as a “Dateline” segment airs tonight that makes the case that a Bronx man serving 25 to life is innocent of charges he shot a retired NYPD officer in 1998. Read More: New York Post

Whitney Houston died of mix of alcohol & prescription drugs, family is told

A fatal cocktail of prescription drugs and booze killed Whitney Houston before she became submerged in a bathtub, the singer’s relatives reportedly were told. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office does not believe the “I Will Always Love You” star drowned, contrary to earlier reports suggesting she slumped beneath the water in a drug-induced stupor, TMZ.com reported Monday. Read More: Daily News

 

New Jersey Senate OKs gay marriage bill in milestone vote despite Gov. Chris Christie vow to veto  

New Jersey lawmakers gave their blessing to legalizing gay marriage for the first time Monday as the state Senate passed a bill that would allow nuptials for same-sex couples, despite Gov. Chris Christie’s insistence that he will veto such legislation. The Senate’s 24-16 vote sends the bill to the Assembly, which is expected to pass it on Thursday. Monday’s vote contrasts with the only other gay-marriage vote taken in the Legislature. In January 2010, gay marriage supporters thought they had built a narrow majority in the Senate, but senators began to defect, and the measure was defeated 20-14. Read More: Daily News

 

Cyclist is killed by hit-&-run driver on S.I.

A 29-YEAR-OLD cyclist died on Staten Island on Sunday night after he was hit by a driver who sped away from the scene, cops said. Ron Tillman of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was riding against traffic on Howard Ave., near Wagner College in Grymes Hill when he was hit by a dark-colored SUV about 9:15 p.m., cops and witnesses said. The motorist then drove away, police said. A woman who lives nearby raced to the injured man and called 911. Read More: Daily News

Cancer-causing toxins found on uniform of Officer Alonzo Harris, who survived being buried at WTC

Cancer-causing toxins have been found on the uniform worn by a cop who survived being buried in World Trade Center debris on 9/11. “It’s a reality check for all of us,” Officer Alonzo Harris, the owner of the uniform, said on Sunday. Police union officials hope the discovery will prompt the NYPD to release the list of cops who worked at Ground Zero to scientists trying to determine the cancer rate among first responders. Harris had reported for work at a traffic control post near the World Trade Center when the first tower fell on Sept. 11. Read More: Daily News

Queens Parents Outraged Over Daughter’s Gun Spelling Assignment


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Parents Outraged Over Daughter’s Gun Spelling Assignment

Many parents are concerned about gun violence, so Lawrence Gillman almost hit the ceiling when his 5-year-old pulled out a surprising homework sheet. “I looked at it and I seen the word ‘gun’ on it. The first thing I thought was ‘oh no no no,’ I don’t want you reading it, I don’t want you spelling it. I don’t even want you looking at the picture,” said Gillman. His daughter goes to P.S. 201 in Queens and is learning sounds and letters, but Gillman says teaching words like “gun” and showing a cartoon image of one is out of touch. Read More: NY1

 

House Approves Bill Seeking Construction Of Gas Pipeline Through Brooklyn And Queens

A bill approving the construction of a three-mile gas pipeline through Brooklyn and Queens quietly sailed through the House of Representatives Tuesday night. On the floor, bill sponsor Congressman Michael Grimm talked up the project’s economic benefits. “The Gateway Pipeline project will generate approximately $265 million in construction activity. That’s almost 300 local jobs,” said Grimm. It’s a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2007 PlaNYC initiative, which he says is about building a stable clean-energy future for the city. Read More: NY1

 

Kelly accuser’s memory of ‘rape’ but not of sex killed her case: sources

She insisted she was raped – she just couldn’t remember actually having sex. Maria Di Toro, the woman who accused Greg Kelly of raping her in a Financial District law office, admitted she had no memory of the alleged attack — making it impossible for investigators to pursue a case against the Fox 5 TV anchor, sources said yesterday. “Not remembering is not tantamount to being raped,” one source said a day after prosecutors announced they’re dropping their probe of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s youngest son. Read More: New York Post

 

Rally to keep Key Food in Flushing

Some Flushing residents have one thing to say to a local landlord: keep our Key Food. At a rally on Wednesday, February 8, they joined elected officials, including Senator Toby Stavisky, Councilmember James Gennaro and Assemblymembers Michael Simanowitz and Rory Lancman, along with Key Food owner David Mandell to protest plans of replacing the supermarket with a CVS pharmacy. Read More: Queens Courier

 

‘Good Day’ co-anchor Greg Kelly to return to Channel 5 Friday morning 

FOX 5 anchorman Greg Kelly will return to “Good Day New York” on Friday – days after being cleared of rape allegations. The decision was made at a 4 p.m. meeting between Kelly and station brass Wednesday, sources told the Daily News. As he left the station, Kelly confirmed his return to work. “I’m very appreciative of all the positive support I’ve received,” he said after walking out the front door. Kelly looked relieved. Read More: Daily News

Greg Kelly Cleared: ‘Mutual lust’ nixes claim by rape accuser


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Greg Kelly Cleared: ‘Mutual lust’ nixes claim by rape accuser

Manhattan prosecutors will not seek rape charges against Greg Kelly, the TV talk-show host and son of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, stemming from a complaint filed by a 29-year-old woman, authorities said last night. The case was over nearly as soon as it started — after it surfaced that his aspiring-model accuser engaged in steamy texting with him after their sexual encounter, suggesting they get together again, sources said. Read More: New York Post
‘Drunken’ driver kills Queens man, 89

A boozed-up driver yesterday fatally struck an 89-year-old Queens man crossing the street just steps from his home, police said. Demitrios Matsoukatidis, 67, was driving east on 21st Avenue near 31st Street in Astoria at 6 p.m. when he smashed into Lizardo Aladana as he was in the crosswalk, authorities said. Aladana, who cops said was crossing against the light, was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, where he died. Read More: New York Post

FreshDirect leaving Long Island City for the Bronx

After flirting with a move to New Jersey, a Queens produce supplier has accepted a fresh offer – and will most likely relocate to the Bronx. FreshDirect, an online fresh food grocer, will uproot from its operations in Long Island City and leave the borough for larger facilities, according to a joint statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on February 7. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens lawmakers and civic leaders rail against proposed legislative districts 

Queens residents and lawmakers packed into a public hearing Tuesday to rail against proposed legislative districts they claim fractures neighborhoods and dilutes their political voice. “You have taken the 24th Assembly District and sliced and diced communities haphazardly along a narrow corridor that stretches across Queens,” Bob Friedrich of the civic group Eastern Queens United told members of the Legislative Task Force for Demographic Research and Reapportionment, which held the hearing at Queens Borough Hall. Read More: Daily News

Assemblyman Lancman Considers Run Against Congressman Turner

Queens State Assemblyman Rory Lancman took the first step to challenge New York City’s newest congressman this fall. Lancman, a Democrat, filed papers Tuesday morning to form an exploratory committee for a congressional campaign to challenge Republican incumbent Bob Turner. Turner won a special election last fall after Anthony Weiner resigned in the wake of a text-messaging scandal. Read More: NY1

Woman murdered in Queens


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman murdered in Queens

A 33-year-old woman was found murdered last night in a Queens apartment building, police said. The victim, whose identity was withheld, was slashed across the throat and found at 8:30 p.m. by her in-laws in a second-floor apartment at 26-80 30th St. in Astoria. It was unclear how long she had been dead. The medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy. Detectives are looking to speak with the woman’s husband, cops said. Read More: New York Post

 

East Side ‘rape’ bust

A maintenance worker has been busted for allegedly raping a woman after breaking into her Manhattan apartment while she slept. Alberto Delgado, 37, of Queens, was arrested Tuesday on rape charges for allegedly assaulting the 24-year-old woman in her apartment on East 30th Street near Third Avenue, police sources said. The attack occurred in the early-morning hours on Dec. 16 after the victim attended a party at another apartment in the building, the sources said. Read More: New York Post

CUNY Law shielding bad grads from bar

Anxious CUNY Law School administrators are urging struggling students not to take this summer’s bar exam in an apparent bid to boost the school’s sagging pass rates, irate students charged. The administrators even offered a handful of students a grant in the fall that’s normally reserved for those taking the July exam if they would agree to postpone sitting for the test until February 2013. Students say an associate dean has pulled at least six classmates in for a one-on-one sales pitch advocating for the delay — even though the February exam is reputedly more difficult. Read More: New York Post

Where to watch the Super Bowl in Queens

It won’t be just Giants and Patriots fans hitting the bars to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5 — more than 110 million people watched last year’s game.  Bars and restaurants throughout Queens feature food and drink specials for Giants fans and anyone else that wants to take in the Super Bowl 42 rematch.  Here are a few places to watch the games in Queens… Read More: Queens Courier

 

Mike $laps Komen

Mayor Bloomberg rode to the rescue of Planned Parenthood yesterday, pledging up to $250,000 for the organization after the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer foundation yanked funding for screenings. “Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Breast-cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care,” he said. “We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way,” he added. But Bloomberg refused to say whether he would cut his own ties with Komen. Read More: New York Post

 

Service disruptions on 7-line could put damper on Flushing Lunar New Year parade 

Queens’ massive Year of the Dragon celebration may be hindered by MTA subway disruptions, several elected officials and business owners fear. Saturday’s Flushing Lunar New Year Parade — one of the city’s largest celebrations — coincides with the ongoing 7-train rehabilitation that cuts service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza. The lack of a direct link from Manhattan to Flushing could stifle the flow of attendees, which usually tops more than 100,000 people, said parade organizer Peter Tu. Read More: Daily News

 

Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona gears up for Black History Month

Louis Armstrong was already an international jazz icon when he stepped out of a taxi in front of a Corona house in 1942 that his fourth wife, Lucille, had just picked out. After growing up in poverty in New Orleans, owning even a modest home in a middle-class Queens neighborhood was almost inconceivable. “He couldn’t believe he owned this house,” said Al Pomerantz, a volunteer at Satchmo’s Corona home that is now the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “It wasn’t until Lucille actually answered the door that he let [the cabbie\] drive away.” Read More: Daily News

Daytime Burglaries Rattle Queens Community

Some Indian New Yorkers think their Queens community is being targeted by thieves. “I turned the lock, and I was like, ‘wait a second, I locked the door when we left that morning,’” said Lea Balgobin, a burglary victim. She did, but someone had broken into her home after she left with her husband Rohan to run errands. The burglar only took cash and gold. “Every piece of jewelry we had, they took,” said Rohan Balgobin. Those items were worth over $50,000 according to the police report . The Balgobins say it’s common for Indians from Asia and the West Indies to keep large amounts of jewelry in their homes because people often give gold as gifts and the jewelry is passed for generations. Read More: NY1

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein

The DA’s probe into whether TV anchor host Greg Kelly date-raped a woman last year is expected to wrap up quickly. “It could be over this week — no later than next week,” said one source. “They don’t want this thing to linger at all. It’s the police commissioner’s son: they are going to do everything they can to bring this to an end.” The politically sensitive case is in the hands of Martha Bashford, the widely respected boss of the Manhattan DA’s sex-crime unit. Linda Fairstein, who previously held the job, called Bashford the “best sex-crimes prosecutor in the country.” Fairstein, who is skeptical of the woman’s claims, said “based on my own experience, I don’t think it will take a very long time” to establish whether a crime was committed. Read More: Daily News

 

‘Dora’ is a Queens kid

Dora the Explorer is now a born-and-bred New Yorker from Queens. One of the city’s highest-paid child models, Fatima Ptacek, 11, has been tapped to provide the new bubbly voice of Dora Marquez, the adventurous, bilingual 8-year-old who is the main character of the international cartoon sensation. Ptacek — the daughter of a retired NYPD detective and a former accountant — said she scored the gig just by being her outgoing self. “I don’t do a special voice for Dora,” said Ptacek, whose Norwegian-American dad is from Queens and whose mom was born in Ecuador. Read More: New York Post

 

Pedestrian Hit On Van Wyck Expressway

A man was struck trying to cross the Van Wyck Expressway early Sunday. Fire officials say the 29-year-old man was hit around 12:40 a.m. on the expressway near Hillside Avenue. They say he was having trouble breathing and was taken to Jamaica Hospital, which he was listed in critical condition on Wednesday afternoon. Police say the car remained on the scene and no criminality was suspected. Read More: NY1

 

Parents and teachers demand ouster of principal they say runs St. Albans school like a ‘dictatorship’

Dozens of teachers and parents at a St. Albans elementary school are on the war path against the principal who they say runs the institution like a “dictatorship.” They maintain that Public School 118 went from an “A” school on its city progress report to a “C” under Principal Cynthia Ofori-Feaster’s 2 1/2-year tenure. They also claim she routinely yells at teachers in front of students and parents. About 50 employees and parents rallied on Friday in front of the school to call for her removal. Read More: Daily News

 

State Senator Wants To Ban Eating In The Subway System

Eating in the subway could soon come with a hefty price tag if one lawmaker gets his way. Manhattan State Senator Bill Perkins has proposed a bill that would slap straphangers with a $250 fine if they are caught eating on a subway train or platform or in a station. The legislation comes in response to the results of a survey, which found the biggest contributor to the subway rat problem is people eating food. Some riders who spoke with NY1 on Sunday said there is got to be a better way to fix the problem. “I think it’s a horrible idea, it’s very unnecessary. I think that people use the trains to commute every day. As New Yorkers, we multi-task all the time. It’s needed to get from A to B,” said a straphanger. Read More: NY1

 

Muslim Leader Still Cold On Kelly As Queens Community Center Opens

Pictures showing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Muslim leaders are proudly displayed at the Queens Muslim American Society Community Center. However, its president, Ahmed Jamil, is calling for the commissioner’s resignation because of his participation in the controversial film “The Third Jihad,” a documentary about radical Muslims. “Not every Muslim has violence. Absolutely this is nonsense. Nonsense. Not acceptable,” said Jamil. Kelly was interviewed for the film in 2007. When complaints were raised about its content, Kelly’s spokesperson initially said producers used old news clips of the commissioner. That turned out not to be true. Read More: NY1

 

Officials Investigate Queens Elevator Accident

It’s unclear how far the debris fell, but fire officials at the scene said it caused the elevator to collapse. Damage could clearly be seen on the elevator’s roof, and chunks of debris were scattered on the floor. No one was in the elevator when the incident occurred at the Cadillac Building on 83rd Avenue in Kew Gardens, but residents were shaken. The debris came crashing down nearly a week after one tenant, Shaun Broughton, got stuck inside the elevator for 45 minutes. Read More: NY1