NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman was attacked in an elevator, and the man who confessed has been freed by mistake.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, the victim wants to know how it could happen. She is afraid of the man who was sentenced for attacking her, but was free Wednesday night for reasons unknown.
The woman said she will not rest until she is found. She was too afraid to show CBS2 her face or use her name while her attacker was out instead of behind bars.
“There is no justice here,” she said. “Not for me.”
Edward Dawkins was arrested in January in the sexual assault of the woman inside a building at 3204 Park Ave. in the South Bronx.
“I get in the elevator. A man gets in behind me. I say to him, ‘What floor are you going to?’” the woman said.
Dawkins said nothing, according to the victim. The Door shut, and the elevator began to move through the floors.
That is when Dawkins made his move, the woman said.
“He slammed me on the floor. After he slams me on the floor, he gets on top of me, and he’s telling me, ‘Shh! Shh! Don’t scream. If you don’t scream, I don’t hurt you,’” she said.
The woman said she screamed anyway.
“(I screamed): ‘Please stop! Please somebody help me!”
The elevator finally stopped. The woman’s friend was waiting, and held Dawkins until police arrived.
He was arrested, and this week, he pleaded guilty to the crime.
On Tuesday, Dawkins was sentenced to nine months in prison for the attack, but two hours later, he was mistakenly released.
The woman said she got a call from the Bronx District Attorney’s office.
“(I was told), ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but Mr. Dawkins has been released by mistake,’” the woman said. “I said: ‘What? What did you just say?’”
CBS2 tried to ask the Office of Court Administration what happened. The office would only release a written statement.
“This is certainly a regrettable incident. The courts handle about one million cases a year,” the statement said. “However, there is no margin for error. We regret that one occurred in this case.”
The Department of Correction website simply showed the reason for Dawkins’ discharge as “released,” with no further explanation.
The woman said she now feels like a victim again.
“Yesterday, I felt like I was in the elevator all over again. That’s how I felt yesterday,” she said. “That’s why I couldn’t stop myself from shaking.”
While Dawkins is still out there, the woman said she believes he will victimize someone else.
The woman said the only think the court did was issue a five-year order of protection against Dawkins.