DNA evidence links Far Rockaway man to 1999 rape

A Far Rockaway man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the 1999 sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman in Jamaica. The arrest, prosecution and subsequent conviction were based on DNA evidence.
“If this defendant had not been required to provide a DNA sample during the prosecution in an unrelated case, this crime would probably still be unsolved,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In re-testing evidence from sexual assault cold cases using newly available advanced scientific techniques in June 2005, the city’s DNA laboratory at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner positively linked semen found in the rape evidence kit of a 23-year-old victim to the defendant’s DNA profile. DNA evidence is irrefutable proof of guilt or innocence. This young woman is to be commended for coming forward and confronting her attacker and testifying at trial. Hopefully, knowing that he will now be behind bars for a long time will provide her with a small measure of help in overcoming the trauma that she experienced as a result of this horrible ordeal.”
Santiago Lugo, 45, of 333 Beach 32nd Street in Far Rockaway, was found guilty of first-degree rape and four counts of first-degree sex abuse before Queens Supreme Court Justice John B. Latella Jr., who imposed the determinate sentence of 16 years in prison.
According to trial testimony, the defendant attacked the victim, then 23 years old, by grabbing her from behind as she walked home from work at approximately 11:50 p.m. on March 3, 1999. He pressed a hard object to her back and ordered her to not look at his face and to obey him if she did not want to be hurt.
Thereafter, he led her to a secluded area where he sexually abused and raped her before fleeing on foot. The victim was treated at a local hospital which collected a rape evidence kit. The police later submitted that kit for DNA testing and it ultimately linked the defendant to the crime.

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