88-Year-Old Is Raped in Chinatown

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A man followed an 88-year-old woman into her Chinatown apartment yesterday morning, then raped and robbed her, police officials said.


The alleged sexual assault and robbery took place at about 10 a.m. yesterday morning. The male suspect has yet to be identified, police said.


The suspect trailed the woman as she walked to her apartment. He then grabbed her, threatened her with force, and pushed his way into her apartment, which is located near Pike Street.


Once inside the apartment, police said the man raped the woman and stole an undetermined amount of cash.


The man fled with another unidentified male suspect. The second suspect is not believed to have committed any act of sexual assault against the woman, whose identity was not released because of privacy laws that protect victims of sex crimes.


After police were notified, the woman was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital. She was listed in stable condition yesterday. She suffered bruises and other wounds related to the rape, police said.


Detectives from the 5th Precinct, which covers Chinatown and parts of Lower Manhattan, have had difficulty creating composite sketches to help search for the suspects. The woman suffers from physical ailments that have prevented her from giving a full description of either suspect, police said.


Sexual assaults involving the elderly are extremely unusual, police officials said, but do happen occasionally.


In 2001, a maintenance worker in Queens, Byron Shelton, was convicted of raping an 82-year-old woman who was wheelchair-bound. Shelton, 46, had gained access to the woman’s apartment by volunteering to wash her windows. At the time of his initial arrest, Shelton claimed the two had engaged in consensual sex. He was later convicted at trial and sentenced to 18 years in prison.


The director of the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Iona Siegel, said sexual assaults involving the elderly are not as uncommon as police officials might initially think.


“It happens often,” Ms. Siegel said. “It happens more often than we like to even think.


“The elderly, like children, are the most vulnerable,” she said. “This not atypical. It’s horrible.”


What is unusual about the alleged rape of the 88-year-old woman, she said, is that the woman reported the incident to police.


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