Jamaica residents shaken by weekend rape

“I used to be bold at night, coming out here alone under that trestle,” said Charmaine Benjamin, pointing to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) overpass separating her apartment in the Forty Projects from the bodega where she used to do her evening shopping.
“I stopped doing that,” said the 42-year-old, just steps away from Marconi Park on 109th Avenue and 156th Street in Jamaica, where, on Saturday evening, January 12, a 17-year-old woman was robbed and sexually assaulted.
Standing under the trestle, cast in shadow under an afternoon sun, Benjamin hypothesized about how the perpetrator might stalk his victims.
“He could come down from the LIRR [tracks],” she said, gesturing toward a rusty metal ladder leading down to the ground from the bridge above.
“Or he could come through there. It’s dark over there,” she said walking toward a grassy area enclosed by a black metal fence about chest-high.
Due to the nature of the incident, the NYPD’s Special Victims Squad has not released any other details and, as of yet, has not linked the assault to other incidents that have recently occurred in the area, which have shaken up both male and female, young and old residents alike.
“I don’t even know what he looks like,” said Benjamin, referring to an ambiguous sketch of the suspect, posted in her building.
“He can go for black or Spanish. But he’s a rapist,” she said, confident of the latter fact.
Magaly Delerme, who lives a few blocks away from the site of the January 12 assault, has stopped going out by herself at night.
Asked if she is worried, the 41-year-old laughed.
“Worried?” she said, her eyes widening. “I’m scared.”
But Delerme is more concerned about her 12-year-old daughter, a student at nearby Union Hall.
“I don’t want her to worry, so I haven’t talked to her about it,” said Delerme, who thinks the same person is responsible for the recent string of sexual attacks in the area. Delerme does not believe the perpetrator will stop until he is apprehended.
Robert Leary, a single, childless resident of the nearby housing projects, is nevertheless bothered by the chain of shocking events in his neighborhood.
“You’ve got to be worried - little kids coming home from school. It’s a mess,” Robert said glancing around the intersection tagged with graffiti.
“I wish I could catch him.”

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