Howard Beach man gets seven years for sex abuse

Howard Beach man gets seven years for sex abuse
Photo by Caroll Alvarado
By Bianca Fortis

A Howard Beach man was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing a female customer of the laundromat where he worked, District Attorney Richard Brown announced last Thursday.

Richard Kassebaum, 42, was given the maximum sentence after he was convicted last week, according to the borough’s top prosecutor.

According to trial testimony, Kassebaum was working overnight at the Woodhaven Laundromat Laundry Haven, at 85-42 Woodhaven Blvd.

A female customer left some clothes in the washer and exited the business at about 4:30 a.m. Without her knowing, Kassebaum followed her out and down the block, and as she turned a corner, Kassebaum grabbed her from behind and choked her, knocking her glasses off her head and causing her to fall to the ground, according to the criminal complaint provided by the DA.

Kassebaum then grabbed the woman’s buttocks, and she screamed and ran from the location, the DA said.

The victim later said her attacker was a man wearing a navy blue short-sleeve shirt and jeans. Video surveillance showed Kassebaum dressed as the way she described, and also showed him leaving the Laundromat after the woman and then running back in a short time later, the DA said.

Kassebaum was arrested April 1, and was convicted of sexual abuse and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, according to Brown.

“Today’s sentence is more than justified as it is necessary in order to protect society from this individual who has proven himself to be a danger to the public,” Brown said. “There is no room in a civilized society for predators such as this defendant to roam freely.”

Kassebaum is the same man who had been convicted of killing his aunt in 1990, the DA’s office said.

At the age of 19, he had been charged with stabbing to death his 49-year-old relative in her Flushing home, according to a 1990 New York Times article.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.