By Bill Parry
Three residents of a homeless shelter for young men in Jamaica were arrested and charged in the sexual assault and gunpoint robbery of a 50-year-old churchgoer after a staffer at the group home informed the NYPD after overhearing the suspects brag about the attack.
Detectives from the Queens Special Victims Squad arrested suspects Justin Williams, 17, Julisses Ginel, 19, and Brandon Walker, 20, Thursday on charges including criminal sex act, robbery and sex abuse, according to prosecutors.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the three, along with an unidentified fourth suspect, operated with a “pack-like mentality” against the defenseless woman.
The defendants were arraigned Friday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Danielle Hartman on multiple criminal complaints. Police continue to search for the fourth suspect.
The unidentified mother of two had left the Celestial Church of God on Liberty Avenue last Tuesday night when she was confronted by Williams with what appeared to be a firearm at the intersection of 150th Street and Beaver Road. Williams demanded she give up her money and cell phone, according to the criminal complaint. After Williams took the victim’s cell phone and MetroCard, it is alleged that Walker then approached and demanded she take off her clothes. Williams and Walker then demanded that she perform oral sex on them, according to the complaint.
When the victim refused to comply, Ginel and the fourth unidentified suspect approached and threatened to shoot her. Finally, it is alleged that Walker and Wiliams had the victim perform a sexual act on them according to the criminal complain.
“The crimes that the defendants are accused of committing that night are despicably and are deserving of significant punishment,” DA Brown said. “Two of them are alleged to have subjected her to heinous acts of sexual abuse.”
The woman was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where she was in stable condition, police said.
Bail was set for all three defendants at $500,000 bond and $250,000 cash bail on the sex charges and $50,000 bond and $25,000 cash bail for the robbery. Their next court date is July 28 and if convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Police were tipped off by an employee of the group home on South Road, according to the SCO Family of Services, which operates the shelter.
“One of the employees at a transitional independent living program for young adults discovered that temporary residents served through the program might be linked to the attack reported in the media,” an SCO spokesman said in a statement. “Our staff took action and alerted the authorities, which directly led to the arrests.”
Two of the defendants have also been charged in an armed robbery that occurred last Wednesday, July 12. Williams and the unidentified suspect approached three men standing in front of 147-12 105th Ave., displayed what appeared to be a firearm and demanded cash and cell phones, according to the criminal complaint.
Ginel allegedly admitted that he was present at the time of the robbery and that his role was to be a “lookout” for his friends so that no one interrupted the robbery.
DA Brown said that the investigation is ongoing.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr