Sunday, September 23, 2012

21-Year-Old Raped And Strangled In Hudson River Park - 4th Park Rape In Three Weeks

“I’ve just been raped! I’ve just been raped!”  - 21-Year-Old Victim 


“We also cannot cut back on resources for parks enforcement. They have already been cut to bone." - Council Speaker Christine Quinn - September 23, 2012

There were only two PEP officers working in the 150 acre Hudson River Park at the time of the rape Saturday morning.   Less than five parks city-wide have 24/7 coverage. 

Registered sex offender Jonathan Stewart, 25 (above) is escorted out of the 1st Pct. after being arrested for the brutal rape, beating and strangling of a 21-year-old woman early Saturday morning in Hudson River Park. The incident was first reported by NYC Park Advocates.  (Photo: Jeff  Bachner for the New York Daily News) 

Police say he dragged the woman - who had come to watch the morning sun- into the bushes near the skate park on West and Harrison Streets in Tribeca.

Two Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers were opening up Pier 25 when they suddenly saw a naked woman running towards them yelling.

“I’ve just been raped! I’ve just been raped!” 

Officer Daniel Murphy stayed with the woman and covered her with a blanket in the back of    a vehicle while officer Luis Cabezas chased the suspect.  Cabezas radioed a description of the assailent over the air. The suspect jumped over a fence into a playground and then ran into a construction area.   Police showed up moments later. The assailant was caught hiding in the bushes in the median on West Street. 

Steward was charged with one count each of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, assault and forcible touching. He is being evaluated at Bellevue Hospital Center.

Mr. Stewart has been charged on two other occasions with robbery and sexual abuse, a law-enforcement official said. According to a public registry of sex offenders, is a "high-risk" violent offender.  Mr. Stewart was convicted of sexually abusing a 21-year-old woman in 2004.

"We simply cannot take away resources from our NYPD at this time with these types of incidents occurring, ” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said at a press conference held at Hudson River Park on Sunday.

“We also cannot cut back on resources for parks enforcement. They have already been cut to bone."

This was the forth reported rape on parkland since September 3rd. On September 12,  a 73-year-old woman was attacked in Central Park,  two days earlier on September 10th,  a 56-year-old woman was raped and thrown off the second story of Pier 15. On September 3rd, a 19-year-old woman reported being raped in Riverside Park.  

- Geoffrey Croft


A young woman waiting to watch the sun rise in a TriBeCa park was yanked off a bench, beaten and raped yesterday during a prolonged attack by a “savage” sex fiend, police sources said, according to the New York Post. 
Jonathan Stewart, 25, allegedly dragged the 21-year-old woman 10 feet into the bushes in Hudson River Park near Harrison Street at about 5:15 a.m., punching and attempting to strangle her before the vile assault.
After the woman bravely fought off her attacker, she ran completely naked toward two Parks Department cops and screamed, “I’ve just been raped! I’ve just been raped!” sources said.
One employee stayed with the woman and covered her with a blanket while the other chased after the suspect, the sources said.
TRAIL OF TERROR: The victim’s belongings, including her bag, lie strewn around Hudson River Park, where she was sexually assaulted.
An NYPD officer watches over the scene of the crime on Saturday.

The alleged attacker had fled on foot with no shirt and his pants down. He was arrested nearby and charged with rape and assault.
The woman’s belongings — including a smartphone, purse, beige wedge heels, undergarments and an orange cellphone case — were found strewn along the waterfront.
The victim, who lives in the area, had been at a local bar the night before and often goes to that spot around sunrise, a law-enforcement source said.
She told cops she was having personal problems and went to the park to clear her head.
Stewart, a registered sex offender who is homeless, sidled up to her, trying to strike up a conversation, cops said.
But the woman spurned him, so he allegedly pounced on her and “brutally raped her for some time,” a law-enforcement source said.
The Parks cops whom the victim flagged down radioed a description of Stewart, who had jumped over a fence into a playground and ran into construction area.
NYPD cops eventually found Stewart hiding in bushes in a nearby median.
The victim later identified Stewart as her attacker by looking at him through an ambulance window, sources said. She was then taken to a hospital in stable condition.
Stewart lashed out at police and flailed like a maniac in his jail cell at the First Precinct station house. “He’s a savage. He looks like an animal,” a law-enforcement source said.
“He was going nuts in his cell. He was smashing his head against the wall and screaming and yelling at police officers.”
Stewart has a record of vicious crimes. He was paroled in July after serving seven years in state prison on a robbery and sex-abuse conviction from 2004. A police source said he raped a young female relative.
The attack — at least the fourth in a city park this month — comes 10 days after a 73-year-old bird-watcher was raped near Strawberry Fields in Central Park.
New Yorkers were sickened by the latest attack.
“It’s horrible what happened. It’s not her fault. Anyone should be able to come to the park at any time. It’s scary,” said Kim Davis, 38, of the West Village.
Jackie Williams, 21, a college student, said: “That’s crazy. You never know what can happen after it gets dark out.”
Diane Fox, 52, said, “We can’t enjoy Central Park; we can’t enjoy Hudson River Park — what’s left to enjoy?
“I moved here 34 years ago, and everything’s changing. The mayor should stop worrying about sugary drinks and start worrying about our freedoms. This is my community, this is my neighborhood, and I can’t go for a walk or watch the sunset?”
“The first woman was elderly, and you would think they would leave her alone,” she said. “Now a 21-year-old? I need to buy Mace.”

Jonathan Stewart, 25 (l) front page story in the NY Post (r). 

Read/View More:

New York Post - September 23, 2012- By Natasha Velez, Jamie Schram, Kevin Fasick  and Dan Macleod  

New York Daily News - September 22, 2012 - By Shayna Jacobs, Denis Slattery And Joe Kemp 

The Wall Street Journal - September 23, 2012 - By Pervaiz Shallwani And Alison Fox

New York Times - September 22, 2012 -  By Colin Moynihan

WABC - September 23, 2012 - By Carolina Leid

WPIX - September 23, 2012 - By Mike Sheehan  

NBC NewYork - September 23, 2012 - By Lori Bordonaro  

Tribeca Trib - September 22,  2012 - By Carl Glassman 

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