COLUMBUS CIRCLE — Police watched a convicted sex offender grope four women and attempt to grope a fifth on the subway platform at the 59th Street-Columbus Circle before arresting him, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.
Police Officer Maria Lorenzo first observed Roger Reid, 55, at 4:55 p.m. on Dec. 4 after she saw him reach under the partition of the subway platform bench where he was sitting and grab a female straphanger's buttocks, prosecutors said.
Officer Lorenzo saw him do it again a few minutes later when a second woman sat behind him on bench, according to Reid's criminal complaint.
Police Officer Kharal watched as he groped a third woman after she sat down in the same seat, prosecutors said. The officer again watched Reid touch the buttocks of a fourth woman who sat in the same seat about 7:20 p.m, according to the DA.
A fifth victim narrowly escaped Reid, when a woman warned her to move after she sat behind him on the platform bench, the complaint said.
When she got up to move, she saw Reid trying to touch her, she told police.
Another woman reported that Reid groped her at the station on Nov. 27, but he got away, according to the complaint.
It was not clear why police didn't arrest Reid after observing the initial Dec. 4 incident.
He was charged with three counts of persistent sexual abuse for the Friday gropings, the DA said. The fourth incident was sealed, police said, though the reason remains unclear.
The three victims Reid was charged with groping were a 20-year-old woman, a 58-year-old woman and a 63-year-old woman, police said.
Reid was previously convicted and sentenced for persistent sexual abuse in 2007, and again in 2010, when he was sentenced for attempted sexual abuse in the first degree, according to the complaint.
Department of Correction records showed Reid was inprisoned in January 2011 for the 2010 incident and was released on parole in November 2014. For the 2007 conviction, he was jailed in July 2007, released in February 2009, returned to jail for a parole violation in October 2009 and was released again in April 2010, records show.
He is currently being held in the Manhattan Detention Complex on $25,000 bail and is expected to appear in New York Criminal Court on Dec. 10, according to the DOC.
His lawyer did not return a request for comment.