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May 16, 2003

Deaf -mute gang-raped

From: New York Daily News, NY - May 16, 2003

Brutal daylight assault in vacant Brooklyn house


Monsters' Lair: Abandoned house in East New York, Brooklyn, where a woman was raped by gang.

A deaf woman on her way to dance class was gang-raped by a pack of thugs who lured her off a busy Brooklyn street and into a vacant house, police said yesterday.

The 21-year-old victim can barely speak — and wouldn't have been able to scream for help during Wednesday afternoon's attack by four men, investigators said.

The vicious crime appalled neighbors on the East New York street, who complained that the building where it happened was a magnet for troublemakers.

"I always worried about these empty homes," said Clyde Davison, 50, who lives across the street from the Blake Ave. building.

"I've seen teenage kids from the neighborhood go in there, go up on the roof and just hang out," he added. "I have a stepdaughter who is 14, and I worry that something like that could happen to her."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which owns the property, has opened a probe into why the building's cellar door was left unlocked.

"To the best of our knowledge, the house should have been boarded up, and we're going to investigate," said HUD spokesman Adam Glantz.

The assault happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday, as the woman walked from her home to the subway station at Euclid and Pitkin Aves. on her way to a Manhattan dance studio.

She ran into at least one of the men, and he took her to the building, at Blake Ave. and Pine St., half a block away, where the other suspects were waiting, cops said.

"Did she come willingly? Was she lured in? We're still trying to figure that out," one investigator said.

No one on the street — which teems with kids playing ball, old-timers sitting on stoops and teens milling around the corner deli — noticed anything wrong.

"If I had seen anything strange, I would have done something," said Mohammed Alagabi, a worker at the L&G market, directly across from the crime scene. "I would have called the police, but there was nothing wrong going on, nothing that doesn't happen every day."

But inside the house, the young woman was being terrorized.

"At least three guys forcibly raped her," a police source said. The role of the fourth man was unclear.

Afterward, the woman walked to the 75th Precinct stationhouse to report the rape — but it wasn't until she was taken to Brookdale University Hospital that the details came out.

Sign language horror

With her family interpreting, the distraught victim used sign language to tell detectives what had happened, police said. Cops were reinterviewing her yesterday.

People on the street said it was horrifying that such a heartless and brazen attack could happen in the middle of the day on a block regularly patrolled by foot cops.

"It just bothers me that right next door to where I live, women are being raped," said one man. "I have a wife and a teenage daughter myself. I'm scared."

© 2002 Daily News, L.P.