Sunnyside groper déjà vu

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (front) hands out fliers about a groping to pedestrians at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside. Van Bramer is joined by (l.-r.) Council Speaker Christine Quinn, state Sen. Michael Gianaris, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley and Mike Novak, who came to the aid of the woman who was groped Sunday. Photo by Christina Santucci
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In a replay of the response to earlier sexual assaults in the area, the attack on a woman in Sunnyside Gardens Easter Sunday brought City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Sunnyside’s elected officials back to the No. 7 46th Street-Bliss Street subway stop Tuesday morning to alert the community.

“It’s very unfortunate that we are at the corner once again,” Quinn said.

On Sunday at 5:45 a.m., a Hispanic man in his late 20s jumped on and sexually assaulted a 30-year-old Sunnyside woman on 46th Street near 39th Avenue.

Mike Novak, who lives nearby, heard her cries from outside his window.

“She was screaming, ‘Help! Get off me! Stop! Stop!’” Novak said.

Thinking the woman was his wife in trouble, Novak ran out and saw the perpetrator on top of the woman in the bushes. The man ran away when Novak saw him. Novak tried to chase him, but was unable to overtake him since he was not wearing shoes.

“I was just outraged that this was happening outside my window,” Novak said.

A police spokesman described the perpetrator as Hispanic, about 5-foot-9 and about 190 pounds.

In response to the attack, Quinn, Novak, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and other officials went to the nearby station to pass out fliers alerting the community to the attack. The same group had done this in October after a pervert riding a bicycle groped five women and a 12-year-old girl in the community.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for violence against women and this will not stand,” Van Bramer said.

The Sunnyside assault happened a few days after the NYPD said a man had groped four Hispanic women in Jackson Heights in late March and early April. Police described the Hispanic man as about 17 to 25 years old and standing about 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8.

Quinn said no matter where the crime occurs, sexual assaults will be punished.

“They’re not frivolous. They’re not funny,” she said. “We are not going to return to a time in New York City when women and girls cannot walk the street.”

The councilman praised Novak for helping the victim and said 108th Precinct Capt. Donald Powers has increased uniform and undercover patrols.

“This is a good neighborho­od,” Van Bramer said. “It’s a safe neighborhood and the crime that happened Easter Sunday is not indicative of Sunnyside or Sunnyside Gardens.”

Those with information on any of the incidents should contact the NYPD’s Crimestoppers via its hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, by visiting its website at or through texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:19 pm, April 11, 2012
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