NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On a weekly trip to the Queens library in Astoria, a 7-year-old girl says she was attacked by a strange man who was creeping around the second floor children’s section.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was so petrified,” the child told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez.
The girl said she was reading on the floor inside the library on Aug. 9 when a man tried to engage her in small talk and then grabbed her feet.
“Sniffed them, rubbed them against his beard, and kissed them. Did it to each foot. And then he did the same and just sniffed my flip flops,” she said.
The man allegedly took off while the child ran to her mother on the first floor.
“I’m beyond sick about it,” her mother said.
What’s sickened her even more was finding out, if caught, her daughter’s alleged attacker would only be charged with a misdemeanor, for forcibly touching a minor.
“It’s a misdemeanor? It’s the same thing as jaywalking? It’s not!” the mother said.
Queens Councilman Peter Vallone agrees.
“Why is it when we catch this guy that he’s subject to a maximum eight months in jail? None of that made sense, so we’re fixing it,” he said.
Vallone reached out to Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Sen. Michael Gianaris, who are now introducing a bill in Albany to make forcible touching of a minor 13 or younger a felony, punishable up to four years in jail.
“I want him to suffer, that’s all” the girl said. “I want him to suffer until he dies.”
The girl helped police make a sketch of her alleged assailant. The sketch has yet to be released.
The Queens Child Abuse Unit is handling the case.
The library does not have surveillance cameras. In response to the attack, Councilman Vallone has secured funding to have cameras installed.
Do you agree with the effort to make forcibly touching a minor a felony? Sound off in our comments section below…