Fresh Mdws. rapist draws up to 42 years

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A St. John’s University student who called 911 while being forced into an alleyway in Fresh Meadows and raped saw her attacker sentenced to up to 42 years in prison last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

James Gillespie, 23, of the Bronx, was convicted earlier this month of raping the 20-year-old student as she was walking home from her first day of work as a hostess at a Fresh Meadows restaurant, the DA said. He was sentenced to between 37 and 42 years in prison last Thursday.

The woman called the rapist a “coward” and “weak” in Queens Supreme Court, during her victim impact statement last week, the New York Post reported.

“You do not deserve to walk the streets as you are,” the girl told Gillespie, according to the Post.

The district attorney praised the student for being brave enough to face her attacker in court.

“There is no place in a civilized society for those who violently assault and prey upon innocent victims,” Brown said. “The victim in this case is to be commended for coming forward and confronting her attacker, ensuring that justice was done. She testified with dignity and grace on the witness stand. Hopefully, knowing that he will now be behind bars for a long time will provide her with a small measure of help in overcoming the physical and psychological trauma that she has experienced during the assault.”

The victim was walking home on the Horace Harding Expressway near 185th Street when Gillespie grabbed her, pulled her into an alley and told her not to scream or he would hurt her, the DA said.

Unbeknown to Gillespie, the St. John’s student had reached into her purse and dialed 911, capturing part of the assault on the emergency call, the DA said. Gillespie then stole cash and her cell phone before fleeing, according to Brown.

Prosecutors played the 911 tape of the attack, which was recorded after the St. John’s student called police on her BlackBerry.

“Please don’t do this to me,” the student said on the tape. “Please don’t [do] this to me, sir. Oh, my God.”

The victim underwent a rape exam and the DNA profile that was generated matched Gillespie’s DNA, the DA said.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:31 pm, October 10, 2011
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