Pols warn of spike in sex assaults at SE Qns station

Pols warn of  spike in sex assaults at SE Qns station
Photo by Howard Koplowitz
By Howard Koplowitz

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) joined southeast Queens elected officials at the Parsons-Archer subway stop Friday to distribute fliers warning residents about attempted sexual assaults, including one rape, in southeast Queens.

“We’re here, unfortunately, because the past few months we’ve seen a spree of sexual attacks in our city,” Quinn said.

Police questioned a 15-year-old Springfield Gardens boy in connection with the attacks and was arraigned on attempted rape, attempted sex abuse and assault charges, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Police believe the teen is responsible for two of the crimes.

Quinn said she and southeast Queens elected officials were handing out the fliers “to make sure residents of this part of Queens know about these attacks.”

The speaker said police believe the attacks were being carried out by more than one suspect.

The presence of the elected officials at the Parsons-Archer subway stop was helpful to commuter Tamara Failsame, who said she was unaware of the incidents until she received a flier Friday.

“It’s good because we need it,” she said of the fliers. “It’s scary. We need to be alert at all times.”

Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) urged women to be vigilant, noting that it is getting dark earlier.

“We want to remind women to protect themselves,” said Comrie, who suggested women should talk with a friend or family member on their cell phones if they are walking alone, but only if they have a Bluetooth headset.

“You want to make yourself as minimal a target as possible,” the councilman said. “As it’s getting dark, we need to increase our safety. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure no other woman gets harmed in our community.”

Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) said when there was a similar rash of sexual attacks in southeast Queens in 2008, 850 volunteers were mobilized to raise awareness of the crimes.

“This community is consistent in its effort to make sure we protect our women and our senior citizens,” he said. “We want to make sure the women do not take this lightly.”

Wills said anyone who sexually assaults women in southeast Queens is “making a serious mistake.”

State Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) encouraged anyone with information to contact police.

“If you know somebody that you think is involved in this, please tell somebody,” he said.

“It could be your mother, it could be your niece. It could be anyone in your family” who is the next victim, Scarborough said.

Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick said women should “be extremely careful.

“Make sure you notice your surroundings,” she said.

Southeast Queens resident Chelsea Bartley, 15, said she has changed her routine since the attacks.

“I have to get home earlier,” she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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