Thursday, November 26, 2009

Forest Park Rape Suspect in Custody by Lisa Fogarty - Queens Chronicle

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A man suspected of rape and sexual assault in Forest Park this year is in custody, police said.

Carl Wallace, 29, from Brooklyn, was arrested on Oct. 28 after cops suspected he is the same man responsible for at least one of the three sexual attacks that took place in or just outside the park within the past five months, the 102nd Precinct confirmed this week. Wallace was denied bail and has been charged with first-degree rape, predatory sexual assault, first-degree robbery and unlawful imprisonment in the first degree.

Wallace’s DNA was found to match that of a 29-year-old woman who was raped on Sept. 24 at around 3 a.m., according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office. The victim was reportedly dragged at knife-point to a wooded area near the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Park Lane South, where the defendant allegedly raped and threatened to stab her if she screamed. After the attack, the man stole cash, an iPod and identification from the victim’s bag before fleeing.

The victim was treated at a Queens hospital, where she immediately submitted to testing that has helped in the capture of her assailant.

It is still unknown if the man is suspected in connection with a rape and a sexual assault that occurred on one day in July in or around the park. At 6 p.m., a 60-year-old woman said a man tried to rip off her clothes while she was exercising near Myrtle Avenue. He fled after she began screaming. At 7:45 that same evening, a 47-year-old woman was reportedly raped while walking near Freedom Drive.

Wallace, whom police said has eight prior arrests, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on Nov. 9 and will next appear in court on Nov. 30.

Maria Thomson, president of the 102 Precinct Community Council, said she is among those Woodhaven residents relieved to hear of the arrest. Many area women reported feeling uneasy walking around the park since the incidents occurred this summer.

“They announced the arrests at the community council meeting,” Thomson said. “It was a fact, it was a great fact — we are all very pleased.”