Authorities have new information on a sexual assault in Union Square. Police said security cameras captured images of the homeless man who attacked a woman in a public restroom. Cops fanned out across Union Square as they searched for the man who attacked a 63-year-old woman in a public restroom at the corner of the park on East 17th Street, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
Investigators shut down the area following the Sunday afternoon attack, but it has since reopened.
“They’re saying it’s a homeless it’s a homeless person so that makes it even sadder. What drove him to do that to this woman?” Barbara Friedman said. Police say the attack happened inside of a bathroom stall. They said the suspect told the victim to perform sex acts on him, and that he sexually assaulted her, before she bit his hand and escaped.
“She bit him quite hard in the hand to the extent that he was bleeding,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, “We took blood samples at that location, so that will help identify the suspect.”
Bratton said several of the 100 security cameras surrounding the park captured images of the suspect, a man in his 30s wearing a camouflage jacket. David Mimms, 55, who has been homeless on and off for the past 15 years said the restrooms at Union Square can be dangerous. Mimms, who is close to getting special housing, said he has seen a spike in homelessness.
“I hate to say this, but institutions I think, where people can be monitored to take their medications because if they’re out on the street who’s monitoring them to take their medications?” he said. It didn’t take long for CBS2 to spot the homeless congregating in Union Square.
“An increase in people who are sitting there really still with their signs,” Stephanie Rebolledo said. Many are worried another attack could happen again.
The Parks Department said the restrooms in Union Square are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They have not received any reports of attacks or assaults in the bathrooms within the past years. The area is patrolled by Parks Enforcement Officers and the NYPD.