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Sex Attacks Up 62 Percent in Greenpoint as Most Cases Remain Unsolved

By Gwynne Hogan | January 6, 2017 8:31am
 Reports of sexual attacks in Greenpoint were up 62 percent last year, police said.
Reports of sexual attacks in Greenpoint were up 62 percent last year, police said.
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Flickr/jacobsoboroff

GREENPOINT — There has been a 62 percent jump in sex attacks reported in Greenpoint over the last year, with the majority not resulting in arrests, police statistics show.

In 2016, the NYPD was told about 13 rapes and attempted rapes in the neighborhood, up from eight the year before, police said.

Of those reports, three people have been arrested including a handyman charged with attacking a woman in her home and a man accused of breaking into a sleeping woman's apartment and raping her, according to criminal complaints.

But 10 of the cases — including two attempted rapes by taxi drivers on young female passengers — remain unsolved, according to police.

Police officials blamed the lack of arrests on the fact that most were "acquaintance rape" cases and said many of the women who reported them later stopped cooperating with investigators.

"Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more," Captain Peter Rose, head of the 94th Precinct, told DNAinfo New York.

"It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of theme were actually coworkers. It's not a trend that we're too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes," he explained.

"If there's a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards."

He described the incidents in more detail at a subsequent meeting of the precinct's community council. 

"They're not total-abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets," Rose said Wednesday night.

His comments raised concerns with Jane Manning of the National Organization for Women.

"The idea that 'this isn't some guy who's dangerous to women,' that in itself is a major window into the mentality that we are up against," she said.

"If you have the commander of a precinct making comments like that, he’s setting a tone for all the officers of a unit about how seriously to take acquaintance rape cases.

"When I hear the phrase we didn't have a cooperating victim, my antenna always goes up. If you hear 'I can't get the victim to cooperate' in case after case, you should be asking yourself what are they failing to do?"

Nationally, only about 14 percent of rapes are stranger rapes, according to a 2012 report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rose told DNAinfo New York that the cases that have fallen apart have primarily been those involving acquaintance rape.

"Those are the people who aren't cooperating," he said.

"One person went back to Florida. Another person went back to California."

In other cases, victims made a report at the hospital and then decided not go through with prosecution, Rose said.

"If there’s no complainant, they can’t make an arrest."

Over the years the number of rapes in the neighborhood has fluctuated, reaching a low of just two in 2009 and a high of 16 in 2013, according to statistics that go back to 2000.

Greenpoint still had far fewer sex attacks than nearby precincts in Williamsburg, where there were 22 rapes last year, and Bushwick, which had 29.

The uptick comes amid a citywide decrease of 1 percent and similar decreases across North Brooklyn precincts, statistics show.

In 2015, about 68 percent of all rape suspects were arrested and about 78.5 percent of sex attackers faced prosecution, according to NYPD enforcement statistics.

Of the three Greenpoint cases where arrests were made, one was of handyman Paul Boateng, 46, who went to a woman's house in July to make repairs and is accused of raping her when he demanded more money for his services and she wouldn't pay, the Daily News reported.

In another case, Armando Martinez, 26, was charged with breaking into a sleeping woman's home and raping her on May 24.

In March, 19-year-old Branden Mangaroo was charged with second degree rape for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. 

There were no arrests in the following cases:

► On May 6, a New Jersey woman who met a man on Tinder went back to his house where he raped her without a condom. She called 911 but later refused medical attention and didn't want to go to the hospital and didn't give a description of her attacker, police said. 

► On Feb. 1, just before 5 a.m., a woman ordered a Lyft in Manhattan and took the cab with her friend to Queens. She fell asleep on the way back to Brooklyn and woke up to find the driver in the back seat trying to take her pants off. She fought the man off and managed to flee, police said. 

► On June 4, a woman who met up with someone through a dating website had drinks with the man and then went back to his condo where she was hoping to sleep, police said. He forced her to have oral sex with him and raped her, police said. The woman later flew back to California where she was from, police said. 

► On June 14, a 27-year-old photographer told police she was on a shoot when her boss made advances and forced her to have oral sex.

► On July 7, a 31-year-old woman was out with coworkers, got "tipsy" and blacked out and remembered a coworker on top of her, police said. She got home and her clothes were disheveled and she thought her coworker may have tried to rape her, police said. 

► On Nov. 18, a 34-year-old woman who had been out drinking with coworkers was raped in her home after telling a male colleague he could come home with her and sleep on her couch, police said.

► On Sept. 11, a taxi driver got in the back seat of the vehicle and groped his 30-year-old passenger and tried to pull her pants off. She fought him off, ran out of the car and called 911, police said.

Details about an acquaintance rape from Aug. 7 were not available. 

Another two cases happened in December 2015 but were reported in January 2016.

► On Dec. 27, an elderly woman at a senior center said a man came into her home, ordered her pizza then raped her.

► On Dec. 12, a 25-year-old woman from Long Island went out drinking with two friends. She went back to one of their houses where she claimed she was raped.

All rape complaints are referred to the NYPD's Special Victims Task Force and not directly handled by officers at the 94th Precinct, Rose pointed out, though he gets updates on the investigations.

The NYPD did not respond to further requests for comment.