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Hudson River Park Rape Suspect Pleads Guilty

Jonathan Stewart, 26, Faces Up To 30 Years In Prison When He's Sentenced
Jonathan Stewart was arrested in September  2012 after police said he beat and choked a 21-year-old woman and then dragged her into some bushes and raped her. He has pleaded guilty, the Manhattan DA announced on Sept. 9, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

Jonathan Stewart was arrested in September 2012 after police said he beat and choked a 21-year-old woman and then dragged her into some bushes and raped her. He has pleaded guilty, the Manhattan DA announced on Sept. 9, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)A homeless man has pleaded guilty to attacking and sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman in a New York City park last fall.

Jonathan Stewart, 26, pleaded guilty to rape and criminal sexual act Monday and was expected to be sentenced on Sept. 30. He could get more than 30 years behind bars.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said the woman was sitting on a bench at the Hudson River Park on the West Side in late Sept. 2012 when Stewart attempted to talk to her. When she tried to walk away, Vance said he assaulted her and dragged her to the bushes where he raped her.

She escaped and notified authorities who found him hiding in the bushes, the DA said.

“New Yorkers should be able to feel safe inside our parks,” Vance said in a statement. “This defendant brutally raped a young woman who was trying to enjoy a sunrise in one of our city’s public spaces. I commend the victim for her courage, and hope that this guilty plea brings her some closure.”

In response to this incident and one the week prior in Central Park, the city offered free self-defense classes last fall.

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