TRIBECA — The investigation into the sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy at South Street Seaport is being hindered because the seaport's operator failed to replace security cameras broken during Hurricane Sandy, police said Thursday.
Police said they were examining video footage from two surveillance cameras after the young tourist said a man assaulted him in a Seaport restroom Tuesday evening, but additional cameras were disabled by Sandy and never replaced, First Precinct commanding officer Capt. Brendan Timoney said at a community meeting Thursday night.
"A lot of the video [system] was damaged during Hurricane Sandy," he said.
A spokesman for the Howard Hughes Corporation, the owner of the pier, disputed that claim and said none of the pier's cameras was damaged in the superstorm.
"The safety and security of visitors to the Seaport is always of the utmost importance," spokesman Alex Howe said in an email. "The security systems at Pier 17, including cameras and other measures, were not impacted by Superstorm Sandy and continue to operate as before. In regard to the incident earlier this week, we are continuing to actively assist the police in their investigation."
The boy, who was visiting the city with his grandmother, was assaulted by a man around 6:30 p.m. as he stood at one of the restroom's urinals, police said.
After the attack, the boy returned to his grandmother, continuing to sightsee in the area for about an hour before he confided in her about the assault, a source told DNAinfo New York.
Police responded to the scene about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, and the boy was taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.
The suspect was described as having dark hair and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and gray sweatpants.
Timoney said First Precinct officers would patrol the Seaport.
"I'm going to have my crime prevention officers protecting the park," he said, adding that community members should report any suspicious activity by calling 911.