A Woodhaven resident and long-time Parks Department employee was arrested on Sunday and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of an underage family member, stemming from his alleged actions five years ago.
Rene Herrera, 57, who oversees such green spaces as Juniper Valley Park, sexually abused an 11-year-old female relative on three separate occasions in 2008, cops said.
The mother of the girl, who is now 16, reported the incidents to the police on Saturday, December 28. Police have not released specific details of the alleged abuse.
Herrera has worked with the Parks Department for about 25 years, according to the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA), and became a regional manager in 2002. He is married and has three children.
People that worked with Herrera said that he is a good person.
“I’ve worked with him on many projects. I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a team player,” said Simcha Waisman, vice president of the Richmond Hill Block Association. “From 2008 to now? Something is wrong with that.”
And Herrera has been very helpful and reliable in managing the parks in his districts, according to JPCA.
“He has been efficient and responsive to any issues we may have, always attempting to solve any problems that are reported to him,” said Lorraine Sciulli of JPCA. “He is readily available by phone if we have the need to get in touch with him quickly. He has always been cooperative and helpful to the JPCA.”
Herrera has been suspended without pay, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.
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