Police seek person of interest in park restroom sex assault

Posted: Updated:
EAST NEW YORK -

Police are on the hunt for a man who they say sexually assaulted a young woman in a playground restroom.

The attack happened Monday morning at the Martin Luther King Jr. Playground in East New York.

Police say the suspect forced an 18-year-old woman into the bathroom, threatened her with a knife, sexually assaulted her and fled.

It happened around 8 a.m., but apparently there were not many people in the playground at that time.

Kenya Johnson lives across the street and says he thinks people stayed inside that morning because of the rain. Most days, he says, he's outside going for a run with friends at that time.

"I guess this particular person decided he wanted to do his act on a particular day like that," Johnson says.

He wondered aloud if something like that would have happened if more people were around.

Aysha Nieves, another local resident, says park security is lax, too.

"There are supposed to be park people here constantly," she says. "They're never here."

The city Parks Department says it does not plan on making any staffing changes after the incident.

Police have released images of a person of interest in the case. They say surveillance video shows him walking toward the park moments before the crime.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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