MANHATTAN — The so-called "dapper groper" has been cleared of all charges.
A judge on Monday dismissed charges that Karl Vanderwoude, 26, had groped women on the Upper East Side and Lower Manhattan. Vanderwoude, the leader of a Bible study group who works in finance, had maintained his innocence ever since he was arrested last month.
"I'm relieved it's finally come to an end," Vanderwoude said outside of Manhattan Criminal Court Monday morning. "I'm really just focused on getting my life back to normal."
Vanderwoude had been accused of attacking women on East 67th Street and Second Avenue on Feb. 27 and Centre and Chambers streets on March 30.
A Crime Stoppers caller had identified Vanderwoude, gave his cell phone number and other identifying details. Two of the three victims also identified him in lineups as the attacker.
"I was in shock," Vanderwoude said Monday. "I never in a million years would have expected this to happen."
But the suspect's employer, MVision Private Equity advisers, said that it has surveillance footage and emails providing Vanderwoude with an alibi that checked out.
On Monday, Judge Erica Edwards put an end to his ordeal.
"Following a comprehensive review, people conclude the defendant is not the person who committed these offenses," Edwards said.
Vanderwoude praised the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
"I'm really pleased with how quickly the district attorney has done everything," he said. "They were acting on information they had, and they were just doing their job."
He added that authorities just got the wrong guy.
"It was clearly a case of mistaken identity," he said.