NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A convicted sex offender is off the streets thanks to one dedicated mother. She said the man groped her daughter as they walked down the street, so she ran after him.
Justine Manser helped put the offender back behind bars with the help of her brave 10-year-old daughter and her iPhone.
“I’m just relieved,” Manser exclusively told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey on Thursday. “We had taken maybe two steps into the street and she said, ‘Mommy, that man touched me.'”
Manser and her daughter were heading home amongst the masses Monday when Timothy Gillette allegedly passed by and touched the girl.
“She knew right away that it was a bad touch,” Manser said. “She just didn’t know why this strange man would put his hand on the front of her shorts and then run it up the length of her body.”
Manser shouted at the man, then took matters into her own hands by taking out her iPhone.
“I thought ‘I got to get a picture of him,'” Manser said.
So she snapped two pictures of the alleged molester then headed to the nearest precinct to tell police.
“They had him within an hour,” Manser said.
It turns out Gillette, who was living at a homeless shelter 10 blocks away, is a Level 3 sex offender who served time for sexually assaulting two girls in 1985.
Manser said she would have regretted it if she hadn’t stepped into action and hurt someone else.
“I also would have regretted that I wouldn’t have stood up for my daughter. I would have felt like I failed her,” Manser said. “I don’t think of this as an event. I think of it as the beginning of what she’s going to have to know about life and I wish it didn’t happen when she was 10.”
On Friday, Manser’s daughter will testify before a grand jury.
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