Tag Archives: Richard Brown

Brooklyn man charged for Ridgewood hate crime


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A Brooklyn man who allegedly tased another man in the chest in Ridgewood last month has been charged with a hate crime.

Joseph Desmond, 23, allegedly approached the victim and shocked him  in the chest while spewing anti-gay slurs on September 25 at the intersection of Gates and Fairview avenues, according to the district attorney’s office.

Desmond was charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault, second-degree aggravated harassment and second-degree harassment.

“Crimes of hate — such as this random and senseless attack — will never be tolerated here in Queens County. When they do, regrettably, occur, they will be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Every person has the right to feel safe to walk the streets without being harassed or assaulted based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

 

Mother of unarmed man killed by NYPD meets with Queens DA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NY1

A day before burying her son killed by police during a traffic stop, Cecilia Reyes met today with the Queens district attorney.

Noel Polanco’s mother, along with her lawyer Sanford Rubenstein, met with DA Richard Brown for about a half hour today, according to reports, and was told the case will likely be heading to a grand jury.

“The district attorney this morning committed to a independent investigation,” Rubenstein said to reporters on the scene outside the Queens County Courthouse.

Reyes said she just wants the investigation handled correctly.

“All I want is justice,” she said. “I don’t want this to be repeated.”

Brown released a statement saying the “decisions in this case will be based solely on the facts and the law.”

Earlier this week Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also said he expected a grand jury investigation.

Polanco was fatally shot on the Grand Central Parkway last week after being pulled over for erratic driving. Reports said Polanco was shot after reaching below his seat. Diane DeFerrari, a passenger in the car, said his hands never left the wheel. No weapon was found in the car.

Former Queens Little League ‘coach of the year’ pleads guilty to sexually abusing minors


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Ellis Kaplan

A former Little League coach of the year pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team.

David Hartshorn, a former coach at the Rochdale Village Little League, was arrested and charged in February with having sexual contact with three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his Rochdale Village home between July 2009 and January 2011. He was also accused of showing child pornography to minors and filming two teens engaged in sex acts.

Hartshorn pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual act, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act and two counts of use of a child in a sexual performance. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter indicated Hartshorn would be sentenced to 18 years in prison, the district attorney’s office said.

“The defendant has admitted being a sexual predator who took advantage of his position as a Little League baseball coach to get close to young boys before sexually abusing them,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “The consequences of his actions can have a lasting and profound impact on his victims – for that reason alone, the intended prison sentence to be meted out by the Court is more than warranted.”

According to the criminal charges, Hartshorn would frequently have members of his team at his residence.

This isn’t Hartshorn’s first time in trouble with the law. According to published reports, he was convicted in 1989 on charges of sodomy, promoting sexual performance by a child under 16 and promoting obscene sexual performance by a child under 16.

Hartshorn has been held without bail since his February 2011 arrest.

Additional reporting by Steve Mosco

Racino robber caught in Pennsylvania


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Resorts World

The suspect wanted for robbing about $63,000 from Resorts World Casino New York City was arrested on Tuesday, July 29 in Pennsylvania and will be moved back to Queens, the district dttorney’s office announced.

The suspect entered the Racino during the afternoon of June 29, passed a note to a teller on the second floor demanding money and threatening that she would be killed. After receiving cash, he fled, right out of the casino’s front door.

Officials allege that finger prints on the note matched that of Kevin Lides, 23, of Briarwood. Surveillance video of the suspect match Lides’ description, officials said, and he was picked up by Monroe County police.

Lides faced a Monroe County judge on Wednesday, August 1 in regards to his extradition to Queens. He will be charged in Queens with first-degree robbery and second-degree grand larceny, according to the DA’s office. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“The defendant is accused of brazenly walking into a crowded casino on a Friday afternoon and demanding money,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “The odds of getting away with such an alleged crime were stacked against him, and his long overdue arrest proves the old adage: you can run but you cannot hide.”

Queens teacher charged with molesting three additional students


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Three more accusations have been levied against a former Queens teacher accused of molesting two boys earlier this year.

Wilbert Cortez, 49, was charged in February with sexually abusing two young boys on multiple occasions at P.S. 174 in Rego Park. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced yesterday that Cortez has been charged with molesting three other male students between 2007 and 2011.

“These are serious accusations in which a school teacher — who should serve as a role model to students — is instead accused of using his position to gain access to children for his own gratification,” Brown said. “Schools should be safe havens where students are protected from harm.”

Cortez was a computer teacher before being removed from the classroom.

A city investigation in 2000 found that Cortez had shown “a pattern of inappropriate conduct” at a school in Brooklyn. The report concluded that the teacher slapped two students on the buttocks on several occasion. A letter of discipline was placed in Cortez’s file — however, six months later he was transferred to P.S. 174.

Cortez was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the district attorney’s office. He is due in court on June 11.

—Additional reporting by Steve Mosco

[UPDATE] Election Day 2011


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown casts his vote this Election Day

[UPDATE]

Only 83 voters have visited the polls at Benjamin Cardozo High School since they opened this morning at 6 a.m, according to poll worker Michele Miller.

The Bayside area high school is open for those wanting to vote for six Supreme Court judges and the District Attorney. There are six candidates under each party for Supreme Court judge and Richard A. Brown is running unopposed for District Attorney.

 

It’s Election Day and Queens voters have three races on the ballot.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown is running for a record sixth consecutive term as county prosecutor. Brown, who will be 79 less than one week after Election Day, is running unopposed with endorsements from his own Democratic Party, as well as Republicans and Conservatives.

Also on the ballot this year, candidate Ruben Wills, a Democrat, is running unchallenged to fill the 28th District City Council seat. Rounding out the election, Queens will fill six state Supreme Court justice seats.

Candidates for State Supreme Court come from across the city. Five of the Democratic candidates are sitting Civil Court judges including Janice A. Taylor of Jamaica; Allan Weiss of Forest Hills; Rudolph E. Greco Jr. of Jackson Heights; Vincent J. Dufficy of Breezy Point and Ira H. Margulis of Oakland Gardens. The sixth Democrat in the race, Pam B. Jackson of Jamaica, is currently a Housing Court judge.

Candidates on the Republican and Conservative side of the ballot include Robert V. Beltrani of Jackson Heights; Gabriel Tapalaga of Middle Village; Joseph F. Kasper of Ozone Park; Kate Christoforatos of the Bronx; Milton Florez of Oakland Gardens; and John f. Casey of Flushing.

Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and information on voting can be found by visiting the Board of Elections web site at www.vote.nyc.us or by calling 866-VOTE-NYC (866-868-3692).

Police arrest 15 year old for sex assaults


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

groperw

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.