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Resident claims that woman was sexually assaulted at Gantry Plaza State Park, Cops now involved

State Park Police at Gantry Plaza

State Park Police at Gantry Plaza

Aug. 4, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

A Long Island City resident claims that a woman was sexually assaulted in Gantry Plaza State Park Monday night, which has sparked an investigation in to the incident by the New York State Park Police, according to the NYPD.

The witness said she was out grabbing a burger with her son in the park at around 9:45 pm Monday, when she heard a strange sound coming from the tall sea grass near the red Adirondack chairs where they were sitting.

“I heard a sobbing, and I couldn’t tell if it was a child because it sounded odd, but sprinklers were on in the grass area so it was kind of muted,” the witness said. She got up to look around, but sat back down when she didn’t see anything.

A few minutes later, however, she heard the sound again, only this time “it sounded more guttural, the pained gasping sound of someone in anguish,” the Long Island City woman said. “For some reason in my mind I just thought ‘that’s the sound of a woman getting raped,’” she added.

She said she stood up on the chair to get a better view of the surrounding area, and that is when she saw the tall grass moving.

She ran to the moving weeds and yelled for whoever was in them to stop and come out.

The witness said that a man’s voice yelled back at her a string of profanity and that he sounded “alarmingly angry, not someone who had just been caught partying or with a girlfriend.” She added that she could still hear muted sobbing coming from the weeds.

The witness said that she could tell that his voice sounded younger, so she yelled back at him “don’t talk to your elders like that,” which seemed to silence him for a few seconds. She said that he then started yelling and cursing again, so she got scared and ran back to her son and told him to call 911, though he did not because he did not know what to say, as he didn’t know what was happening.

She said she ran back over, and a man who appeared to be of Indian descent in his 20s and about 5-foot-9 with brown disheveled hair jumped out of the weeds in front of her. She said he screamed at her, “I killed her, I stabbed her, I’ll stab you.” She thought for a moment about trying to take his picture or hitting him, as he was not much bigger than her, but then she got scared and ran away toward the Pepsi sign.

She said that a man who didn’t speak English and appeared to be Japanese came to help her, and she started yelling for the woman in the bushes. She saw rustling in the weeds and said the woman was crying that she couldn’t find her way out. The witness reached in and pulled her out, and as she did the woman tried to close the buttons of her white shirt that had been ripped open.

The witness said that the woman was in shock and started walking away, and though she offered to bring the alleged victim to a hospital or a police station, the woman just wanted to go home.

The witness and her son walked the woman to the train, and though the woman did not say much on the walk she did say “he looked so normal.” She sent her son and the woman on to the train, while she stopped by the 108th Police Precinct to talk to an officer.

She said she explained what transpired to an officer, and the precinct said that unless the woman filed a report, there was nothing they could do because the park was outside their jurisdiction. “I stared at them for a minute and then just left, I couldn’t believe it.”

She walked back to the park and met up with her boyfriend and son, and they spent the next hour walking through the park looking for the alleged attacker. “The creepiest part was, I saw all these nice happy people, a lot of girls going to restaurants, taking selfies with the skyline, they don’t know what just happened there,” the witness said.

“Living in New York as women we’re savvy, but we have to be careful and look out for each other,” the witness said.

On Tuesday, the witness reached out to the state park police, and had been posting about the incident on a Facebook group.

She said everyone from the group immediately got involved and started reaching out to park authorities. She said that the response from the State Park Police was incredibly swift, and they interviewed her and her boyfriend and are looking for the alleged attacker. They also cordoned off the area where the woman was attacked, and are planning to cut down the sea grass to improve visibility.

NYPD said there was a report filed Monday night about an unknown victim who was possibly sexually assaulted in the park, leading to the State Park Police investigation.

The State Park Police has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment.

 

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43 Comments

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LIC Me

Not buying this account. Hasn’t anyone considered that these people were having public sex and this lady interrupted them. The dude was angry and the woman was embarrassed. That, to me, is the only plausible explanation. Sometimes people like it a little wild.

If I’m wrong and this was an assault, that’s tragic. But it doesn’t add up at all.

Reply
D.

The predator relied on low light. After 9 pm. there is often light traffic. The brave reporter actually confronted the rapist–who among you would try this?
Also, aside from peace officers and soldiers, who among you have a full repertoire of perfect reactions in this surreal, itself traumatic event?
Being a woman herself not a mighty, beefy guy like the brave avoidists and denialists above, she is the best among you, coping bravely.

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46-30 The View

I agree with 4630! I am also at 4630, with full view of the newly placed blinding obnoxious lights ruining my view of the spectacular skyline. These light are an eye sore and only a band-aid addressing this very scary situation that might or might-not of occurred this passed week. No matter the what the truth is, how does this sound? Repair the existing lights that have been out for a very long time. Patrol this park, and inforce the laws clearly visable on the signs through-out the area.
As a unit owner for 5+ years, I have seen all the rules stated upon entry to this beautiful park broken repeatedly. The “no dogs allowed” rule is a joke, as a unit owner I’ve never even walked my own dog in the park.
Drinking, loitering and destruction of our beautiful parks furniture is very evident . People picnic and leave their garbage. Couples publicly engage in inappropriate displays of affection, amongst young influential children on outings from nearby day-care centers and schools. Unfortunately very few people in the surrounding “rental” buildings have the same heart for this area, as the people that own and pay taxes and maintaince! They allow their dogs to defecate of public property, sides buildings, flowers around trees, grass areas in the parks where children play and people relax . These dog owners are selfish and lazy. Beautiful doggie parks are available in the vicinity, but they choose to break the laws. The stench of dog urine on a hot Monday morning before our amazing building maintenance men clean up, just shows the lack of respect from weekend visitors, and selfish neighbors. Use the doggie parks!
In my opinion, the lack of police presence and law inforcement gives free rein to all the people with malicious intent, on many levels. Let’s rally for law inforcement presence in our neighborhood and parks, and first and foremost, it will be safe and clean for all to enjoy!
While I’m here.. How about some safe cross-ways along Center Blvd? The stops signs are strategically placed behind trees and out of drivers view. The most important cross-walk around a blind turn, on center Blvd and 47th Ave, leading to the parks main entry doesn’t even have a stop sign!! Come on, let’s get one of our neighborhood congress people to actually get involved, or the NYC roads commissioner that took 6 months to answer my e-mail about crossway saftey. Her response was… she’ll be looking into this matter. This is going on a year now without any solutions. Let’s not let our beautiful neighborhood regress back to the sad 1980’s.

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4630

Is this incident the impetus for the new, and obnoxiously bright, NYPD lights all over Gantry Park? I think there are better ways to monitor a park for safety than blinding residents that cannot block this out all night.

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Anonymous visitor

Blend on the Water and Shi attract loud and aggressive crowds – especially on the weekends.

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LIC Res

Hopefully the woman comes forward and gives the police whatever details she can remember about this man.. coincidentally there was a woman in Howard Beach raped and killed in a tall grassy area this week..very scary

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Anonymous visitor

If it’s true, yes then I hope so too. The women in Howard Beach, horrible. WIshing for quick closure for the family with a prompt arrest.

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John brand

I live-in the crossings building and go out to smoke cigarettes in the day and night and I have seen some stuff go on in the park that no cops are ever doing anything about fights people drinking smoking crack and other hardcore drugs people stashing drugs in the park people having sex and people who drive cars and bikes into the park thugs going around tagging everything.And there is never a cop around who does anything but if you happen to be smoking a cig in the park cops stock you and come to see if it is pot you are smoking or if I and others just happen to be on the wall by the school cops watch us.we need more reliable cops that do not have there ducks in there hands and so nothing.

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Anonymous

The only patrol cars I see once on a while are the traffic enforcement cars. Something needs to be done for sure. Last Sunday I was waiting for an UBER car at 5:00am in front of my building and there was about 6 individuals on Center Blvd and 50th Avenue cursing and making a lot of noise. The state police at NYPD need to work together and do something.

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Anonymous

108th precint are lazy they are retired and dont want to get off their asses their nasty and we need new officers that will help LIC. I woulnt depend on them if i had too. Better to get maze and have an attack dog with you is safer than the 108th precinct.

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Anonymous visitor

That area of the park is packed at 10pm on a summer night. People everywhere. That doesn’t mean that a crime didn’t occur, but just saying.

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Frank

The 108th really needs to actually respond to resident complaints about people in the park after is closes. Nothing like seeing empty liquor bottles and 40s on the picnic tables on a morning walk.

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Anonymous visitor

Its the jurisdiction of the NYS Park Police not the NYCPD however I wish it was as the issues would be addressed better. The Park Police are quartered in upper Manhattan (145st.) which is too far and when they do come by they spend little time in the park. Whenever I see the NYS Parks Police, especially on weekend nights, they sit in their car waiting for people to run the stop signs so they can do traffic stops. On one occasion when I informed the officers of a condition in the park (minor issue) they basically told me they already inspected the park and weren’t go back in. They then sat on the corner and did multiple car stops over the next hour. If there was anyway the 108 could pick up covering the park I’d be very much for it.

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Frank

The fact that the 108th just writes off the park speaks volumes to how fundamentally lazy and worthless they are. They are the police; saying “that isn’t my job” should not be in their language when there is a crime.

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Anonymous visitor

Not their jurisdiction and no complainant, it’s the NYSPP’s mess not theirs. I’m not here to defend the 108 but over the course of a night they’re running around picking up various 911 jobs (traffic accidents, domestic incidents, burglaries, etc) and the last thing they need is to tie themselves up more with an incident (possible) that another agency (Park Police) is on call and responsible for.

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Frank

I am sure a jurisdictional ducking of accountability would be oh so comforting to the victim of a rape. While you are right about the need for a complaint to take action, their lackluster response to other complaints about activity in the park is totally unimpressive. Maybe if we replaced the snack bar in the park with a donut shop they might waddle over there.

Paul

I don’t know what to make of this report…its just bizarre. But for now, I’ll just call this lady a complete imbecile.

Basically this lady is saying “heard something fishy, I yelled, I ran away, but I came back to yell some more, than I ran again out of fear, a Japanese no English guy saved me, than I came back to the same place hoping to yell some more, but I instead I pulled a girl out from the bush, because she was lost inside”

Lady perhaps if you knew a woman was getting raped only to have it visually confirmed from a crazed guy with “disheveled hair” to say he killed a girl AND threatened to kill you Too, and finally witnessing the poor girl yourself….maybe…JUST MAYBE…you should’ve called the cops right than and there rather than this whole “I was scared but I still decided to go back and forth several times to yell at a guy who was Rapping/killing a girl”

Hell do it again. But next time take your own advice of “looking out for women” and call the cops.

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PO

I thought the same thing. Her story just doesn’t make sense. Why not call the police ASAP. No phone? I bet there were plenty of people roaming around that area at that time.

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Paul

No she definitely had a phone as she clearly “thought about taking a picture” before she ran to the Pepsi sign to be saved by a no English speaking Japanese fellow. Which in itself sounds ridiculous.

Yes, that place is among the most busiest of places. There had to have been lotta joggers, families, cyclists, and crowd. Yet this moron, took it upon herself to walk the girl to the subway (which is a good 15 minute walk) only to go on a bounty hunt for the rapist….I call bs

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veronicamar

I was thinking the same thing. The lady acts if she was in some secluded area in the forest with no cell service miles away from anything. If someone claimed they killed someone and threaten to stab me the first thing i would do is get my son (most important) out of there and call 911. And to think she claims that she later walked around looking for the man makes no sense especially with her son! I do not know how old her son is but perhaps someone should take a look at that.

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Concerned LIC resident

Ms.Gargano, we all DO appreciate what you did that night – it was brave considering that you are a woman and if you were not there, it could have turned out much worse, but either your story does not add up or your actions during and post incident make no sense.
1) If you heard “pained gasping sound of someone in anguish” and suspected a possible rape, why didn’t you take the phone from your son and called 911 yourself right away and started screaming for HELP to scare the predator off and possibly alert other park goers who could have helped and stopped the alleged rape right away? it’s a very popular park and there are a lot of people in the park, even at 9:45pm.
2) “She thought for a moment about trying to take his picture or hitting him, as he was not much bigger than her, but then she got scared and ran away toward the Pepsi sign” – you run away by yourself leaving your son behind in close proximity to the crime scene and to the alleged predator ? Didn’t your instinct tell you to run to your son and scream out loud HELP!!!? You were considering taking a picture (assuming using your smartphone, but earlier you stated that you run back to your son and asked him to call 911 instead of using your phone and calling 911 yourself knowing what was taking place firsthand?
3) “Gargano said that the woman was in shock and started walking away, and though Gargano offered to bring her to a hospital or a police station, the woman just wanted to go home. Gargano and her son walked the woman to the train” – HELLO??? The woman was allegedly RAPED and in SHOCK and you walked her to the train (good 15 min walk) and sent her home? Wouldn’t your common sense tell you the woman in this condition was incapable of making good decisions and needed a medical attention and that you should have taken her to the 108th Precinct which by the way is on the way to and literally a few steps from the 108th Precinct??? You should have called 911 even after the horrible act took place and after the victim was pulled out of the bushes even after the rape victim refused any help and not walked the rape victim to the subway station and sent her home!!! Considering the victim was in shock, you could have only helped her if you got the police involved even if the victim insisted not to.
3) If you also sent your son home on the same train that tells me is was old enough to understand what was happening in the park yet he did not know what to tell 911 hen you asked him to call 911? Then what doesn’t make sense is that after sending your son and the victim home and after the police refused to help, you went back with your boyfriend and his son looking for the predator in the park at night after 10PM for another hour. Wouldn’t you be scared to go back to the crime scene at that time and instead wouldn’t you file a police report yourself (which you had all the right to do so) and let the police handle the crime? You really expected the predator to still be in the park after his act and after he ran off knowing that the the police would be there soon?

Again, we do appreciate whatever you did that night as things could have turned out worse or no one would have knowwn about this incident and the potential danger in the park going forward. I understand you are a woman and you were probably scared while this horrible act was taking place and in a way you might’ve panicked during the act, but I truly do not understand your actions post the incident.
“Living in New York as women we’re savvy, but we have to be careful and look out for each other,” – I really do not understand how you, a woman and a witness to this crime, looked out for this woman by sending her home (even if she insisted) knowing that she was just raped? “He forced her into the sea grass and raped her”
I assume you are referring to the following definition of rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.
if you were paralyzed during the attack to call 911, you could have at least called 911 right after the victim was pulled out of the bushes or should have stopped by the 108th Precinct on your way to the subway station. it doesn’t matter where the crime takes place – the police, not the state park police, always has the immediate priority and jurisdiction when a crime is being committed. In this case, we don’t have the victim and no more details about what really happened that night and the alleged predator is still on the loose. I just hope that the victim comes to her senses and comes forward to the police in hope that it may possibly lead to an arrest of the alleged raper. We definitely do not want this creep out walking in our parks or on the the streets looking for another victim.

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Ro

Last night I walked by that same area and noticed that two out of the three light posts are out. These have been out since Sandy. They really need to get all the lights in the park to work. This is redicoulous, it is about time that this got fixed already.

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Greene

I visit this park regularly if i was there i would’ve jumped in the grass and pulled them out. Wish she would’ve caught more peoples attention to help.

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Anonymous visitor

While anything is possible and there is no reason not to believe this 3rd party complainant this narrative is peculiar to say the least.

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sc

Why would she walk the woman to the train, which is right next to the police station, and not take her to the police station?

This whole thing is odd

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ar

Hopefully the woman recovers from her shock and reports to police so she can receive the justice she deserves. Horribly heartbreaking. Glad to know that someone helped her.

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Anonymous visitor

Just remember we don’t know what or if anything happened and while there is a possibility a crime occurred there is also a possibility no crime occurred. Feeling and assumptions aren’t facts, lets wait for the facts.

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D.

Unfortunately, rape is a violent act. Getting slapped, you might have a momentary stunned feeling, but being slapped, pummeled, thrown to the ground, clothing ripped, while being threatened and rapidly raped, in the dark, in overgrowth, leaves a woman without a coping skill quick enough.
The facts are, you are a man.
Trauma has a myriad of reactions. This was an experienced predator from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh in rape- endemic rural communities, where experienced rapists learn their skills. Please inform yourself. And, again, you are man without a shred of empathy.
You are a man.

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Anonymous visitor

“Unfortunately, rape is a violent act.”
>Agree 100%.

“Getting slapped, you might have a momentary stunned feeling, but being slapped, pummeled, thrown to the ground, clothing ripped, while being threatened and rapidly raped, in the dark, in overgrowth, leaves a woman without a coping skill quick enough.”
>Agree.

“The facts are, you are a man.”
>Sexist assumption.

“Trauma has a myriad of reactions.”
>Agree 100%

“This was an experienced predator from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh in rape- endemic rural communities, where experienced rapists learn their skills.”
>Assumption and opinion with a hint of racism and sexism.

“you are man without a shred of empathy.”
>Speculation, opinion, and possibly misandry on your part.

All I’m saying is wait for the facts (which shouldn’t be controversial). Not dismissing or diminishing anything.

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Jim

There is no Police presence in this neighborhood. Not 20 years ago when I moved here and not currently, since the residential population has exploded in the past 10 years. The 108th patrol officers drive around in their cars to who knows where? The waterfront parks are never “closed” and only occasionally do I see NYS Park Police visible in the area. I am frankly surprised more crimes of this nature don’t occur more often.

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Mia

You are very correct. I happen to work in the this area that many years ago it was just a dump. Now a beautiful place that is also a trap as there are too many tall trees, grass and very little night. No patrol at all as I many time also do overnight work. I can see group of people walking around inside the park, drinking, yelling etc. It really scary at night time a real different during the day. I do agree also, that I am like you surprise there haven not being more crimes committed as this area is super alone and make a very easy target for folks to get hurt. I often ask myself why this development or the owner of this buildings are not provide more security to there tenants, this people pay a lot of money for an apartment. They also deserve security and not only a beautiful area where they are a target. This area is never patrol even during the day it lack security. No one is caring for this beautiful area that I am sure it cost a big bundle to build. The owners need to also provide better security on the parking areas underground or inside where only a weak pole move to let the car out or in. A guard in all this areas with working cameras or even a iron gate that will not allow strangers to wonder inside the parking A personal that will walk an occupant that needs to go to work or is coming back from work etc. This waterfront is very crispy in the winter and at night. The owners also need to enforce the rules of not treating this area like a motel, is a kid freely area too. I see many couple acting with not respect and almost going to the point of need to be reminded that if they can not control then self, they should go home or to a motel. Owners you spend million building this complex, care for it and as your occupants. I do hope the owner get smart and start a campaign to better provide not only a so call paradise, but also a safe park where you can really take a walk and enjoy the beautiful view.

To the great lady and her son who help the young woman, a big thank you. It wonderful to see there are still people that not only care, but are willing to go the extra mile.

To the young woman who had to experience this experience this horrible act of malice. I am glad you are alive and you will recover, it will take some time, but you will. Do report it, so this animal is caught and will not do this to someone else.

Reply
Concerned LIC resident

Ms.Gargano, we all DO appreciate what you did that night – it was brave considering that you are a woman, but either your story does not add up or your actions during and post incident make no sense.
1) If you heard “pained gasping sound of someone in anguish” and suspected a possible rape, why didn’t you take the phone from your son and called 911 yourself right away and started screaming for HELP to scare the predator off and possibly alert other park goers who could have helped and stopped the alleged rape right away? it’s a very popular park and there are a lot of people in the park, even at 9:45pm.
2) “She thought for a moment about trying to take his picture or hitting him, as he was not much bigger than her, but then she got scared and ran away toward the Pepsi sign” – you ran away by yourself leaving your son behind in close proximity to the alleged predator ? Didn’t your instinct tell you to run to your son and scream out loud HELP!? You were considering taking a picture (assuming using your smartphone, but earlier you stated that you ran back to your son and asked him to call 911 instead of using your phone and calling 911 yourself knowing what was taking place firsthand?
3) “Gargano said that the woman was in shock and started walking away, and though Gargano offered to bring her to a hospital or a police station, the woman just wanted to go home. Gargano and her son walked the woman to the train” – HELLO??? The woman was allegedly RAPED and in SHOCK and you walked her to the train (good 15 min) and send her home? Wouldn’t your common sense tell you the woman in this condition needed a medical attention and that you should have taken her to the 108th Precinct which by the way is on the way to and literally a few steps from the 108th Precinct??? You should have called 911 even after the horrible act and after she was pulled out of the bushes even after the rape victim refused any help and not walked a rape victim to the subway station and sent her home!!! Considering the victim was in shock, you could only helped her if you got the police involved even if the victim insisted not to.
3) If you also sent your son home on the same train that tells me he was old enough to understand what was happening in the park yet he did not know what to tell 911? Then what doesn’t make sense is that after sending your son and the victim home and after the police refused to help, you went back with your boyfriend and his son looking for the predator in the park at night after 10PM for another hour. Wouldn’t you be scared to go back to the scene at that time and instead file a police report yourself (which you could have done) and let the police handle the crime? You really expected the predator to still be in the park after his act and after he ran off knowing that the the police would be there soon?

Again we do appreciate whatever you did as things could have turned out worse or no one knew about this incident and potential danger. I understand you are a woman and you were scared while this horrible act was taking place and in a way you might’ve panicked during the act, but I truly do not understand your actions post the incident.
“Living in New York as women we’re savvy, but we have to be careful and look out for each other,” – I really do not understand how you, a woman and a witness to this crime, looked out for this woman by sending her home knowing that she was just raped? “He forced her into the sea grass and raped her”
I assumed you are referring to the following definition of rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim. if you were paralyzed during the attack to call 911, you should have called 911 right after the victim was pulled off the bushes or should have stopped by the 108th Precinct on your way to the subway station. it doesn’t matter where the crime takes place – the police always has the priority and jurisdiction when a crime took place, not the state park police. In this case, we don’t have the victim and no more details about what really happened and the alleged predator is still on the loose. I just hope that the victim comes to her sense and comes forward to the police in hope that it may possibly lead to an arrest of the alleged raper. We definitely do not want this creep out waling in our parks on the the street looking for another victim.

Reply
Concerned in LIC

You know what? In that situation, she did the best that she could. She saved her. Period. Everyone was in shock and may not have behaved perfectly afterward, but few can under circumstances like that.

Reply
LB

Thinking clearly is easier in hindsight. She did the best she could in a panicked, uncertain situation.

Reply

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