Parole Officer Helped Catch Suspect in Child Sexual Abuse Case
JACKSON HEIGHTS — A man accused of sexually abusing two young girls in Jackson Heights was caught after his parole officer recognized the suspect's face from surveillance video on television, police said.
The parole officer was watching television when she saw surveillance tape released by the NYPD on television, which appeared to show Mario Lopez, 52, of Brooklyn, sneaking into a Jackson Heights apartment behind two young girls on Nov. 12, police sources said.
She immediately called police, which led to his arrest a short time later, police said.
Lopez, who was released from prison on Jan. 24 after serving time for kidnapping and sexual abuse, according to the state corrections department, was charged last week with luring a child, sexual abuse, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child.
Police and prosecutors said he snuck into the apartment building, following 4- and 9-year-old girls into a first floor laundry room, where he sexually abused them.
"The defendant is accused of being a sexual predator," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished."
If convicted, Lopez faces up to 15 years in prison.