An alleged subway pervert who cops say masturbated on women for nearly a decade was indicted yesterday.
Prosecutors at the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Darnell Hardware, 26, used crowded rush-hour subway trains to rub himself up against young women traveling to work and school. He would ejaculate on the women and then flee when the subway doors opened, according to officials.
Police hunted him for nine years, but had only his DNA, recovered from his semen he left on women, prosecutors said. So they charged his DNA with sexual assault, labeling the case “John Doe,” hoping to match it eventually.
Prosecutors say they got their chance in June, when, convicted of selling drugs, Hardware was required to submit his DNA, which matched that from the older attacks.
Manhattan prosecutors say Hardware attacked women, ages 17, 22 and 24, three times between 2002 and 2005. He was most recently arrested for public lewdness on June 21, according to an NYPD spokesman, when he was caught masturbating in front of a woman at the 2 train subway stop at Third Avenue and 149th Street in the Bronx.
But that was only the latest in a string of arrests, the NYPD spokesman said. Hardware has been arrested about 25 times, according to the NYPD, often for sex-related or drug charges. If convicted, he faces up to nine years in prison.
The indictment prompted Councilman Peter Vallone to reiterate his demand that the MTA post photos on trains of wanted and convicted subway sex offenders in a type of underground “Wall of Shame.”
“This animal is an example of what happens on our subways,” Vallone said.