Tag Archives: Sexual Abuse

A Ridgewood child sexual abuse victim finds her voice years later


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Wally Gobetz

After years of staying silent, a victim of child sex abuse from Ridgewood has found her voice and is working to help others bring their abusers to justice.

The woman is a longtime resident of Ridgewood and alleged that she was sexually abused as a child by a close family relative. Both her identity and that of her alleged attacker are being withheld due to the pending litigation.

The woman claimed the abuse started when she was just a toddler and continued until she was 9. She said that the relative would regularly engage her in sexual activity.  Each time the abuse happened, the relative would threaten that he would harm her and other family members if she spoke up.

“I grew up in domestic violence. The rapist was an alcoholic and a wife beater,” she said in an interview with the Ridgewood Times. “So, him threatening me every single time that he would abuse me, and saying if I tell anybody he would kill my mother, and me seeing him beat my [family member] constantly to the point that she would have to go to the hospital, obviously I would be afraid of this man.”

When her mother discovered what was going on, she immediately called police. However, the victim said nothing out of fear for her own life and her family members’ lives.

She remained silent on the issue for years, but the current law requires that sexual abuse cases involving minors must be reported within five years after a victim reaches the age of 18. The victim, now 41, is ineligible to make a case against her abuser under the current law.

“I feel like I fell through the cracks of the system,” she said. “Now I found my voice. I’m going to speak, I’m going to scream and I’m going to do everything I have to do because I am reclaiming my life.”

The victim is an active supporter of Assemblywoman Margaret Markey’s Child Victims Act of New York (A2872/S63), which passed the Assembly four times since 2006 but has never made it to the floor of the state Senate for a vote, The bill seeks to completely eliminate the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse and create a one-year period of time when victims of child abuse who are now adults can bring a civil suit against their abuser and anyone who has protected or covered for the predator.

After hearing about the legislation from a close family relative, she filed a domestic incident report against her abuser with the police department and reached out to Markey. Upon learning of her story, Markey invited the Ridgewood resident to Lobby Day for the Child Victims Act on Wednesday in Albany.

“With research showing that one in five of all children in the U.S. are sexually abused, it is not only important to raise public awareness about this scourge,” Markey said in a statement. “It is also vital that we reform outmoded laws to provide justice for victims and expose pedophiles and those who hide them, also helping to protect future generations of children from abuse.”

Opponents of the act include the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, which claims that the open-ended statutes could lead to litigation and settlements that could financially destroy the diocese. In response, Markey penned a letter to Pope Francis asking to schedule a meeting with New York survivors of childhood sexual abuse when he comes to the U.S. in September.

As of Wednesday, Markey has yet to receive a response from the Vatican.

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Ozone Park man faces serious jail time for sexually abusing two young girls


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

jail

An Ozone Park man was convicted this week of sexually preying on young children in their home over a four-year period, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Melchor Evangelista, 42, was found guilty of having sexual contact with two preadolescent sisters on five separate occasions in their Ozone Park home in 2009 and 2013.

“A jury has convicted the defendant of being a sexual predator who victimized two young girls and betrayed the trust of their parents who had placed their daughters into his care,” Brown said. “As such, he has proven himself to be a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. His conviction ensures that he is punished for his crimes.”

According to the trial testimony, Evangelista engaged in a sexual act on three different occasions between June and August of 2009 with a 6-year-old girl whom he knew. He also attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim during the same time frame.

The victim, too afraid to tell anyone of the incidents, waited until December 2013 to confide in her mother. The mother then asked the victim’s younger sister, who was then 10, if anyone had touched her. She admitted that she woke one night in August 2013 to find Evangelista in her bed and that he had touched her private parts.

Jurors convicted Evangelista Monday of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count each of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree attempted sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, after a one-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Butcher.

Evangelista, who had been free on $50,000 bail since after his January 2014 arrest, had his bail revoked and was ordered held in custody. Sentencing is set for April 28, and Evangelista faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the criminal sexual act charges, 15 years on the attempted rape charge, seven years on the sexual abuse charge, four years on the attempted sexual abuse charge and one year on the endangerment charge.

The investigation was conducted by the NYPD’s Queens Special Victims Squad at the Queens Child Advocacy Center.

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Queens man pleads guilty to sexually abusing girl at Fort Hamilton Army Base


| mmcgoldrick@homereporter.com

File Photo

Queens resident Fausto Bonifaz, 39, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to coercing and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity on a weekly basis at the victim’s home at the Fort Hamilton Army Base.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bonifaz began to abuse the young girl sexually in late 2009 when the victim was 12. Over the next year, he assaulted her on a weekly basis.

Bonifaz — a civilian admitted to the south Brooklyn base as a visitor and friend of the victim’s mother — admitted to abusing the young girl sexually at his plea proceeding.

When sentenced, Bonifaz faces a mandatory minimum term of at least 10 years in prison and up to a maximum of life, as well as restitution, a fine of up to $250,000, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

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South Queens officer honored for arresting suspect in cop beating


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Just shy of one month after an off-duty cop was beaten nearly to death, Officer Vincent Siraco of the 106th Precinct was honored for nabbing his fellow cop’s attacker.

Sergeant Mohammed Dean took a brutal beating in Ozone Park on Nov. 17 that left him unconscious. As police pulled up to the scene on Liberty Avenue around 4:40 a.m., the perpetrator fled.

Siraco and his sergeant chased the beater down 118th Avenue and apprehended him “with no incident, no injuries to any police officers,” said John Ganley, the precinct’s executive officer.

Ganley called the arrest a “right place, right time” situation, and that at the time, they did not know it was a cop, they knew “it’s an individual getting beaten down into the street.”

Siraco and the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Team, which takes nighttime patrols, were in the area after discovering a robbery pattern around Liberty Avenue’s bars and nightclubs.

“The community is very fortunate to have an individual like this on patrol, especially at night,” Ganley said.

Siraco started at the 106th Precinct in June and has been with the NYPD for two and a half years. Ganley said he has an “impressive record for a short time on the job,” including 25 felony arrests.

“In a very short time, he has established himself as an integral part of our patrol force,” he said.

 

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Suspect nabbed in library assault


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/Video courtesy of NYPD

A suspect wanted in connection with the March 4 assault on a 15-year-old girl at a Queens library has been arrested, police said.

Hector Troche, 56, has been charged with sexual abuse, forcible touching and public lewdness after police say he grabbed the teen and exposed himself to her.

 

Queens Teaching Aide Charged With Sexual Abuse Of Six Female Students


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Teaching Aide Charged With Sexual Abuse Of Six Female Students

A full-time paraprofessional working in an art class at P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens, Queens has been arrested and charged with sexual conduct with six female students. Brett Picou, 30, who worked as a teacher’s aide and a substitute at P.S. 52 since 2008, was awaiting arraignment Thursday on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse, seven counts of forcible touching, one count of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Read More: NY1

 

11 people, including 3 kids, escape from house fires in Queens and Manhattan

Eleven people, including three children, escaped two separate blazes in Queens and downtown Manhattan early Thursday — and one may have been the result of a firebomb. The first fire ignited in a Rockaway Blvd. apartment in South Jamaica just before 3 a.m., and the flames trapped the residents inside their homes. Witnesses later told fire investigators that a Molotov cocktail was tossed near the apartment, setting the home ablaze, sources said. Six people on the second floor suffered minor injuries along with three firefighters who were taken to Jamaica Hospital Center for evaluation, officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Disgraced former Governor returning to national politics with fund-raiser

The Love Gov is climbing back into bed — with lawmakers. For the first time since a tawdry hooker scandal trashed his political career, Eliot Spitzer is holding a fund-raiser for a politician looking to make a national splash. The former governor is hosting the event at his Fifth Avenue home for Washington state gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee on March 5. Inslee, currently a Democrat in the House of Representatives, shares many of Spitzer’s left-leaning political stances. Insiders believe Spitzer’s soiree shows he’s trying to become a political mover and shaker once again — this time as a national kingmaker. Read More: New York Post

 

Not-so-Finest moment as cop caught napping on F train

A hero cop has been disciplined for catching Z’s on the F rain while armed and in uniform. Officer Matthew Sobota, 43, was caught snoozing on the subway by a straphanger, who snapped photos with his cell phone camera and emailed them to NYPD brass. “I thought maybe a teenager could take (Sobota’s) gun and sell it or use it. I felt like it was a potentially unsafe thing,” said Martin Bisi, 51, of Brooklyn, who took the photos of the sleepy cop on Feb. 16. Read More: Daily News

 

Knicks lose to Heat; Lin plays poorly

Jeremy Lin finally met his match last night, and it was ugly. In by far his worst performance during this 12-game surreal surge, Lin fell apart under the South Beach spotlight and the Knicks caved with him in a disappointing 102-88 loss to the mighty Heat last night at rabid AmericanAirlines Arena. “He can’t be Peter Pan every night,’’ Mike D’Antoni said. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and point guard Mario Chalmers made sure Linsanity calmed down as the Heat (27-7) won their eighth straight game by 12 or more points — one short of an NBA record. Read More: New York Post
19K taxi drivers accused of ripping off passengers won’t face charges

It was one of the biggest scandals in the taxi industry’s history, but nearly 90 percent of the 21,819 cabbies accused of ripping off passengers with inflated fares will get off scot-free, The Post has learned. In a stunning move, the Taxi & Limousine Commission is giving a free ride to 19,515 yellow-cab drivers caught setting their meters to the higher, out-of-town rate while traveling around the city. Overall, officials estimated that unwary passengers were fleeced for $1.1 million between 2008 and 2010. Of that, $238,854 in overcharges was attributed to the cabbies who will escape penalties. Read More: New York Post

Jimmy Fallon sings ode to Knicks guard Jeremy Lin on Late Night

Jeremy Lin’s game has spoken so loudly that comic Jimmy Fallon performed a Pearl Jam parody to honor the Knicks point guard. With a scraggly wig on his head, Fallon sang a tribute to the Harvard grad to the tune of the band’s 1992 hit “Jeremy.” “At home, shooting free throws and three point shots, waiting for a job/name not yet a pun/Carmelo injury,” he croons. “Came out of nowhere like an Asian Tebow.” Read More: Daily News

 

5 injured in Long Island house fire

Authorities on Long Island are investigating an early morning house fire in which five people were injured. Nassau County arson bomb squad detectives say the fire broke out at the Levittown house on Prentice Lane at 12:30 a.m. today. The four occupants — a 46-year-old woman and three 11-year-old children — managed to get out of the house quickly. They suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to a hospital for treatment. Read More: New York Post

Queens’ Morning Round Up – 10/14/2011: Queens foster care abductors held on bail


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Queens’ Morning Round Up – 10/14/2011

 

Abductors held on $75,000 bail

Two weeks ago Shanel Nadal, and her husband Nephra Payne were arrested in Harrisburg, PA after abducting their 8 children from a foster care facility in Queens. Presiding judge Ira Margulis, has issued and order of protection for the children and held both parents on $75,000 bail each. Nadal claims she took the children because one of that had been sexually abused in the home of the foster parents. Read More: New York Times

 

Calling all nerds, NYC Comic Con kicks off in Manhattan

New York Comic Con started yesterday at the Javits Center on Thursday and runs all weekend. Day passes have already been sold out for the four day event but weekend passes are still available. Read More: WNYC

 

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor drugs… well, maybe drugs

Lori Allen a worker at a post office in Rosedale has been charged with stealing drugs from a package that was being shipped illegally. Allen was caught on tape Sept. 10 opening a parcel left on a supervisor’s desk, removing the contents, and replacing them with bubble wrap. Allen says she was paid $2,000 for stealing the drugs, by whoever tipped her off about the package. The ex-postal employee was released from jail on $25,000 bail. Read More: New York Post

 

What’s Happening in Queens this Weekend

Our editor collected a list of everything that is going on in Queens this weekend. Check it out at: Queens Courier

 

‘Holiday Bandit’ pleads guilty to bank robberies

Marat Mikhaylich, 35, became known as the “Holiday Bandit” after committing a spree of bank robberies in the New York area last Christmas. Mikhaylich robbed 9 banks in order to support his addiction to heroin. The bandit was finally tracked down to an apartment in Kew Gardens after a police investigation. Mikhaylich pleaded guilty to nine bank robbery counts and one count of brandishing a firearm and faces up to 205 months in prison and. Read More: New York Post

Abducted children found, claim city abuse


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

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The search for eight children taken from a foster care facility in Forest Hills on September 19 ended at around 10:30 p.m. Monday evening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Police officials say that Shanel Nadal, 28, of Manhattan, and her husband Nephra Payne are awaiting extradition back to New York City after being found with their eight children – seven boys named Nephra and one 11-month-old girl – preparing to spend the night in a van with no license plates. The Daily News has reported that a joint police effort between NYPD, South Carolina State Police and the FBI were able to track the family through their cell phone and swipes on their welfare benefits card.

While the eight-child escape from a supervised visit with foster parents and Forestdale officials was dramatic enough, Norman Steiner – the parent’s attorney – claims that while in the city’s custody the children were abused. He states that the planned abduction was in the best interest of the children.

“The children were sexually molested while in the care of the city,” said Steiner to The Daily News. “You can’t blame the parents for acting in the children’s best interest. It’s a shame the city failed them.”

Steiner did not release any details regarding the alleged abuse but says he fully expects his clients to be exonerated from any crime.

An attempt to visit and interview Riverdale officials was refuted by workers at the agency who said the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) would speak on their behalf. They issued two statements regarding the apprehension of the family and the allegation of abuse on the city’s behalf:

“It is wonderful that the Payne children have been located and are now safe. Specially-trained staff from ACS will bring the children home to New York City. . . An investigation by ACS is already underway into how the children could have been abducted from the foster care agency during a supervised visit. ACS is reviewing with the foster care agency the protocols it has in place for supervised visits and its campus security system. We will share the results of that investigation once it is completed . . . We are aware of the allegations currently being made by the parents and we take all allegations of abuse seriously. Our immediate concerns are for the well being of the children. We have appropriate mental health professionals working with the children, including experts in trauma and a range of other disciplines.”

The parents will be charged with kidnapping, custodial interference and child endangerment, according to Associated Press reports. Nadal was arraigned and bail was set at $200,000.