Several Victims Failed to Pick Alleged UES Groper From Lineup
DOWNTOWN — The man suspected of sexually assaulting a dozen women on the Upper East Side was picked out of a lineup by just three victims, while four others failed to identify him, the District Attorney said.
The failed lineups "show the weakness of witness identification," said defense attorney Stephen Pokart, who said his client, Jose Alfredo Perez Hernandez, 18, from Queens, could have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Sometimes the wrong person is picked out," he said.
He was speaking after Hernandez was arraigned Wednesday night.
Pokart also pointed out that one of the alleged victims who failed to pick him out chose a different person in the line-up. Another could not choose between the defendant and another individual.
Prosecutors said that one of the women who picked Hernandez out of the line-up alleged he followed her out of the subway on July 17th about 3:30 a.m. and back to her apartment. She then allegedly confronted him by yelling, "What are you doing?" and he fled.
Prosecutor David Hammer said there is also video showing the suspect following the woman out of the 77th Street subway station before following her to her home. The video led to Hernandez being identified by a former employer.
Another woman who picked the suspect said he followed her to her apartment building on East 85th Street on July 13th about 12:30 a.m. and "reached under [her] skirt and grabbed around [her] buttocks and knocked her to the ground," according to court papers.
A third woman claims the suspect rubbed against her on a subway near the 68th Street station.
Hammer also said Hernandez asked a friend about getting a lawyer after seeing his picture posted around the Upper East Side.
But his defense attorney countered that Hernandez could have just been asking for an attorney out of concern for seeing his picture connected to the assaults.
Pokart said Hernandez moved from Mexico to the United States a year ago. He was working in the kitchen at Antonucci Cafe on East 81st Street for about six months until three weeks ago, Pokart said.
Hernandez, who is being charged with two counts of burglary, one count of sexual abuse and two counts of forcible touching, is being held on $150,000 bail.
His next court date is August 15th.