Park rapist pleads guilty
A homeless man has admitted to raping a 21-year-old woman in Hudson River Park last September, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced this Monday.
Jonathan Stewart, 26, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act, both of which can carry up to 25 years in prison.
Around 5:15 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2012, Stewart approached and began talking to the victim while she was sitting on a park bench near West and Harrison Sts., in Tribeca, according to court documents. When the woman tried to walk away, Stewart physically assaulted her, dragged her to a nearby area and raped her.
“New Yorkers should be able to feel safe inside our parks,” said Vance. “This defendant brutally raped a young woman who was trying to enjoy a sunrise in one of our city’s public spaces. I commend the victim for her courage, and hope that this guilty plea brings her some closure.”
Stewart is due to be sentenced Sept. 30.
Police arrested Willie Jackson, 44, after he allegedly jumped a subway turnstile. He was also busted for carrying an illegal knife.
An officer said he saw Jackson jump the turnstile at an entrance to the F/M station at 14th St. and Sixth Ave. around 2 p.m. on Sept. 9. After stopping and searching him, the officer also said he found a boxcutter in Jackson’s backpack, after which Jackson reportedly replied, “I use it for my protection.”
He was charged with two misdemeanors for his turnstile jump, including criminal tresspassing, plus criminal possession of a weapon.
Jack Ryger, 56, was arrested on the evening of Sept. 7 when he allegedly hit a police officer with his car after being caught using a fake police permit.
Officers said that around 6:30 p.m. Ryger tried to park in front of the Police Athletic League building at 34 E. 12th St. using the bogus badge. When the officer spotted and confronted him, Ryger reportedly drove forward and struck him, causing minor injuries.
Ryger was charged with two counts of assault, possession of a forged instrument and harassment.
Christopher stab threat
Police arrested Sekou Salaam, 47, after he allegedly threatened to stab someone on a West Village sidewalk.
The alleged victim, 23, told cops that Salaam started an argument with him outside the Fat Cat jazz club, near Christopher St. and Seventh Ave. South, around 6 p.m. on Sept. 7. He claimed that, moments later, Salaam took out a knife and said he was going to use it.
Police officers in the area quickly noticed the commotion and stepped in to apprehend Salaam. They said that, in searching him, they found a small bag of alleged cocaine in Salaam’s pocket.
Salaam was charged with two counts of menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
You spray, you pay
Two teenage graffiti taggers in the Village got tagged by police, as they ended up in cuffs.
Around 11 p.m. on Sept. 6, police said they spotted a 17-year-old male spraypainting his street moniker, “4Coner,” on a commercial truck near the corner of Little W. 12th St. and 10th Ave.
Five hours later, around 4 a.m. on Sept. 7, cops caught Peter Raymond, 18, tagging the front of a residential building on Bank St., between W. Fourth St. and Greenwich Ave.
Fatal random punch
A retired train conductor who was punched in the face in a random attack in Union Square on Wed., Sept. 4, died this past Monday. According to the New York Post, Jeffrey Babbitt, 62, of Sheepshead Bay, who fell into a coma after the assault, died after being taken off life support, police sources said.
The New York Times reported that Babbit visited the nearby Forbidden Planet comic book shop several times a week.
According to the Times, the attacker, Lashawn Marten, has a history of mental illness and violence. He was reportedly angry at being bumped by straphangers coming out of the subway station — which is one of the city’s busiest — and was overheard allegedly saying, “I’m going to punch the first white man I see.” The Post reported that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
– Sam Spokony and Lincoln Anderson