Today’s news:

Jamaica man arrested in rape of teen girl

A Jamaica man was arrested last week on charges he yanked a 13-year-old girl off a Brooklyn street as she walked home from school and raped her in the back of a van while an accomplice tried to convince the girl to become a prostitute, police said.

Tyrell Averhart, 22, of 164-01 Foch Blvd. and a Brooklyn woman were arrested June 8 in Brooklyn after the girl escaped and called for help when the 1994 Ford van broke down, police said.

The girl, who was not identified, was pulled off Utica Avenue as she was on her way home from school about 11:30 a.m. June 8 and forced into the Ford van by three men, allegedly including Averhart, and a woman, police said.

Inside the van Averhart allegedly beat the girl, slapping her and punching her in the face, according to a criminal complaint from the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. They drove to an unknown location, where Averhart allegedly raped her, the complaint said. The woman in the van told the girl they were going to turn her into a prostitute to make them money, the complaint said.

The two-hour ordeal ended when the van broke down on Decatur Street and the girl took the opportunity to escape. She ran to a nearby building and screamed for the woman inside to call the police.

Averhart and the woman inside the van, Christina Pratt, a 17-year-old from Brooklyn, were arrested a short time later, police said.

Averhart was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn June 9, where a judge set a bail of $75,000. He was charged with rape, kidnapping, promoting prostitution, sexual abuse and assault, endangering the welfare of a minor and other charges, according to the criminal complaint.

Averhart had previously been arrested on robbery charges and was released from prison in February after serving two years on a burglary conviction, police said. He missed an appointment with his parole officer in February and has had a warrant out for his arrest since, police said.

Pratt was also charged with similar crimes, police said. She had previously been arrested on prostitution charges, police said.

A grand jury heard testimony this week to determine the formal indictment against the two, a spokesman for the Brooklyn DA said.

Investigators were still looking for two other men, police said. They were also questioning other young rape victims to determine if there was a connection to Averhart, police said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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