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Police: Homeless Man Charged With Rape In Tompkins Square Park Attack

Police officer near crime scene (file/credit: CBS 2)

Police officer near crime scene (file/credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A homeless man has been taken into police custody for questioning, after a woman told police she was sexually assaulted in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, police said.

The suspect charged with rape has been identified as Ruben Canales, 27, 1010 WINS reported.

The woman, 31, told police she fell asleep on a park bench around 10 p.m. Friday and woke up to find someone trying to rape her.

The woman told police she fought off her attacker but he followed her until she walked into a nearby bodega.

A man walking through the park later reacted to the reported sex assault.

“I feel bad for the woman and say a prayer for her,” Rob Hazel told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian.

This is the third report of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in a city park in the past month.

On Sept. 22, 25-year-old Jonathan Stewart was arrested for beating and choking a 21-year-old woman before dragging her into the bushes at Hudson River Park and raping her, the NYPD said.

A week before that alleged attack, David Albert Mitchell was indicted on several charges in connection with the rape of a 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park.

City officials have called for Mayor Bloomberg to repeal plans to cut the police budget, arguing more officers need to be stationed near city parks.