Curtis Sliwa calls for more protection of kids after brutal sexual attack on teenage girl in Flushing

NY: Curtis Sliwa Rally
Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa condemned elected officials for defunding the NYPD and supporting bail reform. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Following the horrific incident where a 13-year-old girl was raped in Kissena Corridor Park in Flushing last Thursday, former NYC mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, several GOP candidates, and community leaders held a rally in the park on Monday evening. They called for increased protection for children in Flushing after the attacker forced the victim and her friend into a wooded area at knifepoint, tied them up, and committed the heinous crime.

The teenage victims were playing in the park when they were forced into a wooded area of the park where the 13-year-old girl was raped. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Sliwa began the rally by commending the NYPD for their “vigorous effort” to find the perp.

“We’re not here to blame the police; there’s only 32,000 police officers. They need at least 38,000 to do their job effectively,” said Curtis, condemning elected officials for defunding the largest police department in the nation and supporting bail reform. 

“I don’t know how [elected officials] can face their constituents when they see a horrible crime like this and other crimes that are taking place throughout New York City and continue to perpetuate the notion that we need less police and we need no cash bail,” Sliwa said.

The Guardian Angel founder said whether the perp was an undocumented migrant, unsheltered person, or a local wasn’t the issue. 

“It’s just symbolic of the growing problem that’s taking place in Flushing and other neighborhoods in the five boroughs of the city of New York,” said Sliwa.

Sliwa presented a plan to support a staff-strapped NYPD  providing stepped-up patrols of Kissena Park by the Guardian Angels and a parent patrol, which will begin safeguarding youngsters in September when the new school year starts.

“[The NYDP] made a full effort. I’ve seen the drones, I’ve seen the Mounted Unit going back into the darkened areas of the park, and they are covering every square inch,” Sliwa said. “They’re doing all they can humanly and technologically do, but we know it can’t be that way forever. They are just a limited resource. So, it’s our job as citizens to fill the gap with Guardian Angels. And parents and grandparents patrollers.” 

Yiatin Chu, candidate for New York State Senate in District 11 called the attack “every parent’s nightmare.” Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Yiatin Chu, candidate for New York State Senate in District 11, is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter. Chu pointed out that the teenage victims were doing what middle schoolers do: independently traveling to and from school and exploring their neighborhood with friends, including playing soccer at a local park. The community activist described last Thursday’s horrific atrocity as every parent’s nightmare. 

“We need to prevent crimes by having laws with serious consequences. We need to fund our police to increase local patrols and let them do their jobs effectively,” Chu said. “I am outraged that this horrific crime has made parents fearful of letting kids play. Enough is enough. We need to take back our city and save New York so kids can play at parks and playgrounds without fear of being stabbed, shot, or rapped.”

Kenneth Paek said the tragedy could have been prevented. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Kenneth Paek, a retired NYPD sergeant, is running for New York State Assembly in District 25. Peak shared that he felt his hands were “handcuffed” and his legs were “shackled” while on the police force because he couldn’t conduct his police duties because of rules and regulations implemented by politicians. 

“This ugly incident that took place in this park was 100% preventable,” Paek said. “This is the byproduct of no cash bail reform [and] defund the police. New York City, New York State penal criminal law is bankrupt. All these guys are walking away from the law.” 

Steve Chan wants to “repower” the NYPD. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Steve Chan joined the rally all the way from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where he is running for the seat of New York’s 17th State Senate District. The former U.S. Marine and retired NYPD sergeant suspected that the perp might have a prior arrest and was released because “we have seen that far too often in the recent past.” Chan drew comparisons to Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia who was killed by Jose Antonio Ibarra, a migrant from Venezuela, and Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who was killed by Cristhian Bahena Rivera, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

“I’m here to say that not only do we need to refund the police, we need to repower the police. We need to give [the cops] their tools back to let them do their jobs,” Chan urged. “We need DAs that are willing to send the criminals to jail, prosecute them, and keep them in jail instead of letting them out.” 

Dr. Philip Wang claimed that the “streets were getting unsafe.”Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Dr. Philip Wang, who is running for state Assembly in the 40th District, also supported the rally’s “law and order” sentiment and claimed that the “streets were getting unsafe.”

“We have to get rid of these laws and make sure the laws are correct. So [the police] could do their jobs,” Wang said.  

Assemblymember Lester Chang (R-Brooklyn) urged New Yorkers to “wake up.” Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Assemblymember Lester Chang (R-Brooklyn),  a father of three girls, urged New Yorkers to “wake up,” calling for an end to cashless bail reform, making it easier for district attorneys to prosecute criminals. 

“I’m sure all of us as parents don’t want to hear what traumatic violence can do to them. It’s hard. We cannot allow that,” Chang said. 

Community members showed their support for the NYPD. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

One of the rally attendants, Flushing resident Laura Hickey, told QNS that she was “devastated” when she learned of the despicable act. 

“It’s a horror to hear such a thing. This poor child is going to be scarred for life,” Hickley said. “It’s a scary situation. School is going to be out. Kids are going to be free for the summer. And parents have to go to work. So what are the parents going to do? How are they going to watch their kids if the kids want to go to the park?”

The alleged perpetrator was arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree rape, robbery, menacing, sex abuse, and unlawful imprisonment; second-degree kidnapping; acting in a manner injurious to a child; and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.