Members of the NYPD Special Victims Division who helped to lock up a Richmond Hill man believed to be responsible for six sex assaults in Forest Park were honored by the City Council this week for their crime-solving efforts.
Police arrested Mark Andrade, 46, on Aug. 2 for the March 29, 2013, attack and sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman who was jogging through the park. Detectives are continuing to investigate a possible connection to Andrade and five similar incidents that took place inside the park between March of 2011 and August of 2013.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and other members of the City Council thanked the officers from the NYPD’s Forest Park Stranger Rape Pattern Investigation Team of the Special Victims Division on Aug. 9 for their hard work and dedication to protecting the people who use Forest Park each day.
The Forest Park Stranger Rape Pattern Investigation Team is comprised of 32 members led by Deputy Chief Michael Osgood, Sergeant George Fountoulakis and Detective James Menton worked for five years investigating these sexual assaults by interviewing hundreds of people, inspecting video footage from numerous locations around the park, and conducting several other investigational methods.
Eventually police were able to match Andrade’s DNA found from a beer bottle found near the scene of the alleged March 29, 2013 assault to the sample he submitted after being charged with grand larceny in Nassau County.
“For years, park goers visiting Forest Park in Queens and residents of the surrounding community knew there was a sexual predator on the loose. This threat lingered in the back of peoples’ minds,” Crowley said. “Today parkgoers can now rest more assured of their safety, because of the NYPD Special Victims Division Squad. This is just one more shining example of our police officers’ service to our city.”