A woman was raped and thrown off a 20-foot-high railing just steps away from the South Street Seaport on Monday, police confirmed to Metro today.
Police said they responded to a 911 call at 3:37 a.m. on Monday, to Pier 15, just south of the tourist-laden Seaport. The pier, which juts out into the East River, is at South Street and Fletcher Street.
There is a small grassy park on top of a glass building on the pier. The park is about 20 feet above the concrete pier and the river.
Police said they found the victim, a 45-year-old white woman, laying on the concrete, badly injured. She said she had been sexually assaulted and then thrown from the park above.
EMS units rushed her to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition. She suffered a broken femur and a broken pelvis in the fall, police said.
The incident was first reported by Geoffrey Croft, who runs the group NYC Park Advocates. He said he heard about it through people familiar with the ongoing police investigation.
A person familiar with the investigation told Croft that the woman told police she was a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement. She knew her attacker, Croft and police said. It is unknown if he is affiliated with Occupy.
“The way it was phrased to me was that they met and then they went up to the roof to drink,” Croft said.
The two settled on the grassy lawn on top of the pier, and then woman reportedly passed out, Croft said. When she woke up, she was on the cement below, and her pants had been removed, he said. Police could not confirm if her pants were removed.
Police are searching for the suspect, a black man who stands approximately 5-foot-eight inches tall, weighs 230 pounds and has dreadlocks.
Justin Wedes, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street, said this is the first he’s heard of the incident. The pier is connected to the East River Waterfront Esplanade, a popular walking and jogging path.
The Parks Department operates the park level of Pier 15. There are security patrols of the pier, but they are not 24-hour patrols, according to NYC Park Advocates.
According to Croft, there were two security officers there on Sunday who left at 8 p.m. Vickie Karp, a Parks Dept. spokeswoman, did not confirm his statements and referred all questions to the NYPD.
The park closes at dusk, but it’s not difficult to get past a chain gate blocking the stairs.