By Patrick Hedlund and Olivia Scheck
LOWER EAST SIDE — Three youths — including a 12-year-old girl — were charged with a hate crime over the series of attacks on elderly Asian women at public housing complexes on the Lower East Side, police said.
Two girls, ages 15 and 12, and a boy, 15, were turned over to police by their parents Friday after authorities released surveillance tape of five suspects involved in the attacks, according to reports.
Police are still searching for two more youths involved in the beatings.
The first of five attacks happened on March 31 when a woman in her 50s was assaulted in the Gompers Houses, on Pitt Street, at about 1:20 a.m.
The group struck again just an hour later at the nearby Baruch Houses, near the FDR Drive, when they assaulted a 60-year-old woman.
Video surveillance from that night shows two girls and a boy enter the front door of a building while two young men stand watch out outside.
On April 3, a 71-year-old woman was attacked at the Baruch Houses in the evening. The next day, the group beat a 66-year-old woman in broad daylight.
The most recent assault occurred on April 5 when a 68-year-old woman was beaten on East Broadway
The assaults were being investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force because the victims might have been attacked due to their ethnicity or age. Nothing was taken during the attacks.
Police did not release the names of the three youths arrested because of their age, the Associated Press reported. The attackers reportedly did not use racial slurs during the assaults.
Gloria Estimada, 69, who is originally from the Philippines and lives in the Masaryk Towers next to the Gompers Houses, said she gets nervous the few times she comes home late at night.
“Maybe once or twice a month I go to visit my daughter and come home around 11 or 12 [at night]," she said. "There are a lot of people outside, but I’m still scared.”
Local elected officials sent out a joint statement last Friday to denounce the attacks and call for a swift resolution.
“The recent bias-motivated attacks on the Lower East Side area terrible reminder that racial intolerance is still with us,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron.
"All violence must be condemned, but these racially driven attacks are particularly heinous because of their intent to spread widespread fear throughout the Chinese-American community.”