NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A homeless man is due in court Wednesday to face charges in a series of sex assaults on young girls in Queens.
Lee Samuel, 25, was handcuffed and quiet as he walked out of the NYPD Special Victim’s Unit in East Harlem Tuesday night after being charged with sex abuse, committing a criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching.
Authorities believe Samuel is the same man caught on several surveillance cameras around 115th and Sutter Avenue in South Ozone Park where police said two 7-year-old girls were sexually abused last Wednesday.
One victim was touched on the buttocks as she was tying her shoe on the sidewalk, authorities said. Several hours later, the second victim was forced to perform a sex act, authorities said.
In another incident on Thursday that’s possibly related, police said a man exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl from inside a van and then trailed her for several blocks. Prosecutors did not mention any charges against Samuel stemming from that incident.
Sources said investigators picked Samuel up when a friend tipped them off after recognizing Samuel from the video released by police. The friend told officers the 25-year-old was in hiding in Manhattan.
“The defendant is accused of being a sexual predator,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. ”Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished.”
If convicted, Samuel faces up to 25 years in prison.
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