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.READ MORE: Lionel Virgile Accused Of Throwing Bleach In Officer's Face, Tossing Lit Molotov Cocktail At Other Officers In Brooklyn
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.”READ MORE: Producer Scott Rudin Will 'Step Back' From Broadway Duties After Allegations Of Abusive Behavior
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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