The sexual assault of a woman in Morris Park continues to rattle that community eventhough a suspect was nabbed.
Police arrested Brandon Gonzalez, 21, of Yates Avenue on Tuesday, February 9, and charged him with sexual abuse and public lewdness after he allegedly accosted his 23-year-old victim in Morris Park, forcing her to touch his genitals, according to cops.
The assault allegedly occurred near Lurting and Neill avenues during the daytime on Wednesday, February 4.
According to police, Gonzalez exposed himself, taking the victim’s hand and forcing her to grab his genitals while he masturbated.
The Morris Park Community Association’s patrol helped the 49th Precinct and other specialized units handling the case by distributing flyers with the suspect’s picture on it via their community patrol and by encouraging local businesses to hang flyers in their windows, said Al D’Angelo, MPCA vice-president.
“We got the word out,” said D’Angelo, adding “We had posters all over the place with this guy’s picture just to make the neighborhood aware of what was going on.”
Security cameras on homes near where the attack occurred provided the footage of the perpetrator from a multiple angles, assisting police in their investigation, said D’Angelo.
“This is a concern because it hit so close to home,” he said. “In this community, things like this don’t normally happen.”
The main concern of some in the community is that the perpetrator will just receive “a slap on the wrist,” said D’Angelo.
He also saw the attack as a call for continued vigilance, and suggested that residents keep a close watch on their surroundings and anyone that they do not know.
Also, he suggested that anyone walking late at night have someone walk with him or her.
“If we watched out for one another, things like this would not happen,” said the community association vice president.
Remaining watchful of your surroundings is also something that 49th Precinct Community Affairs Officer David Lepore believes is important to prevent becoming a victim.
“Females and males alike should always be cognizant of their surroundings, know their exact locations, and try to avoid poorly or dimly lit areas alone and at night,” stated Lepore, adding that the police should be called if they feel uncomfortable or think there may be a suspicious person in their path.
The community affairs officer said that Gonzalez had been arrested nine times since 2010, for a variety of different alleged crimes, including assault and menacing.
As of press time, it is unclear as to whether Gonzalez may be a person of interest in any other cases, according to a police source.