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New DNA effort used to charge Ridgewood man in 1994 rape

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Hector Torres, 33, of 1724 Troutman St. has been charged with rape, sexual assault, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the 1994 assault, Brown said. He has pleaded not guilty and was being held without bail for a Queens Supreme Court hearing Aug. 27.Torres is one of 11 rape suspects indicted under the "John Doe Indictment Project" in which prosecutors circumvent the 10-year statute of limitations on the crime by using DNA evidence to indict anonymous assailants, the DA said. Torres is charged with breaking into the 24-year-old mother's home on July 23, 1994, entering the bedroom where she slept with her infant and raping her after threatening to slice the child's throat with a knife, Brown said.The victim's original rape kit tested negative, the DA said, but Detective Kevin Koenderman scoured new evidence this month from semen stains on the victim's shirt.The Queens DA's office obtained a John Doe indictment and sent the DNA profile to the New York State DNA Databank, which lists the genetic information of more than 100,000 violent criminals. It matched Torres' profile, obtained after a 1995 burglary conviction, Brown said. He was arrested July 15.Brown said the case illustrates the importance of the John Doe project, launched in August 2003 to make headway in the thousands of unsolved rape cases in New York City. "As a result of the John Doe Indictment Project, justice delayed is no longer justice denied for the victims of sex crimes," Brown said in a statement.He said there are 10 other John Doe indictment cases pending in Queens in which the DNA evidence does not yet match any profile in the state databank. John Does are being pursued in the following cases, which occurred in the borough but specific neighborhoods were not given.On May 22, 1994 a 20-year-old woman taking a car service was taken to an apartment and submitted to the driver, after he threatened her with gang rape by a group of other men. The DA said she escaped when he used the bathroom. On May 25, 1994 a 37-year-old woman was kidnapped at gunpoint while pulling into her driveway, forced to drive somewhere else, then raped and sodomized before the assailant fled on foot, the DA said.- On Sept. 7, 1994 a 30-year-old woman was raped in her car shortly after leaving work.- On Oct. 13, 1994 a 17-year-old girl was sodomized on the roof of her building after the suspect accosted her at gunpoint, Brown said.- On Aug. 17, 1996 a 31-year-old woman parked with her boyfriend was raped in their car after a gunman in a ski mask robbed them of money and jewelry and locked the man in the trunk, the DA said.- On Sept. 5, 2000 a 33-year-old woman was grabbed by the neck in her building's vestibule, dragged down an alley and sodomized and raped by a suspect who fled on foot, Brown said.- On Oct. 20, 2000 a 12-year-old girl was raped at knifepoint in her bedroom by an intruder who fled on foot, Brown said. - On July 17, 2003 a 19-year-old woman was raped at knifepoint near her house after a man grabbed her from behind while she was talking on a cell phone on her stoop. He demanded money and assaulted her after she said she only had $10, the DA said.- On Feb. 20, 2004 a 12-year-old girl was raped in a neighbor's yard by a male attacker who threatened to shoot her unless she obeyed. The girl had been taking a shortcut on her way to school, Brown said."The facts in these cases are a frightening chronicle of sexual violence by dangerous predators," he said in a statement.Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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