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NY1 Reporter Vivian Lee Attacked While Covering Story in Brooklyn

By  Trevor Kapp and Alan Neuhauser | July 27, 2012 8:28am | Updated on July 27, 2012 12:53pm

COBBLE HILL — A 24-year-old woman draped in a sheet climbed into an NY1 news van and allegedly attacked Vivian Lee as the veteran reporter covered a story in Cobble Hill on Friday morning.

Wearing a white sheet over a T-shirt, sweatpants and green flip-flops, Theresa Casivant hopped into the news truck about 7 a.m. and began using Lee's makeup and snacking on food, Lee and a witness said.

When Lee told her to leave, Casivant allegedly took a swing at the reporter. The van's driver grabbed her and hauled her out of the van.

As the three stood beside the van, Casivant swung again, this time punching Lee in the neck. The driver wrestled her to the ground and held her until cops arrived and took her away.

"I'm okay," said Lee after the incident. "It could've been worse.

"This does happen a lot to media people," she added. "I'm happy I'm standing to be able to tell you."

An ambulance was not called. Lee later went to the hospital as a precaution. "I feel very fortunate that I only suffered a slight bruise," Lee said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. "I appreciate all the support I've received from the NY1 staff, NYPD, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Long Island Hospital."

Lee was reporting on the death of Richard Schwartz, 61, who was killed after lightning struck a church steeple and sent debris tumbling to the street Thursday night.

Casivant, of 51st Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn, was charged with third-degree assault, police said. She was taken to Long Island College Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, a spokeswoman for the Kings County District Attorney said.

Court records show that Casivant has been arrested twice recently in the Bronx. On June 16, she was arrested on a drug possession charge; on June 24 she was arrested on a criminal trespassing charge. Casivant is due to appear in Bronx criminal court in August.

Casivant's Twitter page describes her as the mother of two boys, and her Facebook page lists her hometown as Wolcott, Conn. The handle on her Myspace page is "krazychik8687."