Alleged Assault Case at a Standstill, Greenpoint Task Force Continues Alerting Community

Several weeks ago, disturbing news of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred on Sutton St. near McGolrick Park broke on social media and rattled the Greenpoint Community.

The assault allegedly occurred around 2am on September 13, two blocks east of McGolrick Park. According to a post that was shared extensively on Facebook, a 34 year-old woman was walking to a deli on Sutton between Driggs and Nassau when she was attacked and raped by a group of teenagers, suffering serious injuries including a knife wound to the neck.

The social media reports of the incident shook the traditionally peaceful area of Greenpoint surrounding McGolrick Park and prompted local activist Emily Gallagher and Park Church Pastor Amy Kienzle to organize the Greenpoint Task Force, a coalition with regular meetings for concerned community members.

The first of these meetings occurred Thursday, September 22 in the basement of the Park Church Co-op. It was attended by nearly 100 members of the community, as well as several representatives of the 94th Precinct, including Captain Stefan Komar, Community Affairs Specialist Norberto Rivera, and Special Operations Lieutenant Matthew Delaney.

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Captain Komar answers questions at the first community meeting.

During the course of the meeting, citizens asked questions of the police regarding the alleged sexual assault. What they were told was frustrating, as Captain Komar recounted several inconsistencies and roadblocks in what had been reported to police.

According to Komar, the incident, as it had been officially reported to the 94th, was not described as a rape, and location inconsistencies were present. Furthermore, after several interactions, detectives were having difficulty securing the victim’s cooperation in further prosecution of the incident.

“I feel a little awkward that we are here because of an incident that is really hard for us to respond to because we don’t have an official report of the crime that has been circulating on the internet,” said Komar.

“We do have a report for assault third degree—three individuals attacking a woman, but the location doesn’t seem to match. So we’re in a very tricky situation—we would like to help but we’re not getting the information we need or the cooperation that we need especially since the crime that is being described is not actually being told to us.”

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Community members brainstorm ideas to improve safety in the neighborhood.

After nearly three weeks, Captain Komar confirmed over the phone this morning that
nothing further has happened in the prosecution of the case due to these same issues.

Residents in the area remain on guard, especially in the wake of a recent string of robberies and reports of several more sexual harassment incidents surfacing on North Brooklyn community watch Facebook groups.

For instance, one woman recently reported that she was biking under the BQE on Manhattan Ave. (crossing Meeker) when she was allegedly chased and verbally harassed by a group of five teenage boys. She reported that they shouted various derogatory names at her, and tried to grab her several times but missed. Once she was able to successfully outrun them and get to Driggs where there were people around, the woman wrote that she reported the incident to police.

In light of such continuing reports, the Greenpoint Task Force has remained steadfast in their mission to inform and protect the community. A second meeting took place on September 29, where community members continued generating ideas to help better educate and protect residents from such further incidents.

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The Greenpoint Task Force is taking measures to increase safety.

One such measure that is being pursued is to investigate why existing light fixtures in McGolrick Park are not being utilized. The meeting organizers are following up on this with the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. Another such grassroots measure that was initiated was to for a media committee of people to create flyers alerting people to what’s been going on.

Check out the sample flyer (at left) that Greenpoint Task Force organizer Emily Gallagher recently provided. Although the date for the next meeting has not been set yet, you can join their Facebook group to receive updates and find out when the next meeting will be.

About Erik Keithley

Originally from just north of Baltimore, Erik became enchanted with the country-tinged outlaw folk of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, and Guy Clark while studying journalism in North Carolina. As a direct result, he moved to Austin as soon as he could, where he saw a lot of music, recorded a little of his own, and honed a strong appreciation for brisket, New Orleans, and a generally slower and more inquisitive approach to life. Having just moved to Greenpoint from Austin, Erik aims to explore the mellow charms of his beloved new neighborhood with the same quietly searching eyes.

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