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May 17, 2003

Men Charged With Raping Deaf Woman

From: Newsday - May 17, 2003

Attack on Deaf-Mute Spurred Community Outrage

By Wil Cruz Staff Writer

Police arrested two Brooklyn men Saturday in connection with the rape of deaf woman in an abandoned building Wednesday, police said.

Kevin Hercules, of 1246 Blake Ave., and Suliik Mann Rowe, of 1250 Sutter Ave., both 18, were charged with first- and third-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment, police said.

On Wednesday about 3 p.m., the 21-year-old victim was lured into an abandoned building at 1268 Blake Ave., and allegedly raped by four men, police said.

Police said the victim, who cannot talk, was on her way to a nearby train station when the rape occurred.

The unidentified victim, who may have known one of her attackers, does not know the suspects who were arrested Saturday, police said. The suspects were picked out of a photo array by the victim, police said.

But Gail Rowe, Mann Rowe's mother, believes her son has been wrongly accused. In a telephone interview, she was skeptical of the account of the young woman's account, although she does not know her.

"He has a girlfriend," she said of her son. "What does he need with her."

Rowe said she spoke to her son Saturday afternoon, but would not go into detail about the discussion.

Also, Rowe added that Hercules and her son were friends. Though she said she did not know Hercules well, she said she believed both men were innocent.

"I don't think either of them would do this," she said.

Meanwhile, Rita Hercules, 47, Hercules' mother, said her son came home Wednesday afternoon from school — Franklin K. Lane High in Brooklyn, where Hercules is a junior — at 2:30 p.m. and went back out. He returned home about 9:30 p.m., she said.

"I told him I heard that a girl got raped," said Hercules, a home care nurse. "He said he heard about it too. He was sorry to hear about that."

Asked if she believed her son could have been involved in the rape, Hercules, who has lived in the neighborhood with her husband and three children for eight years, said, "I don't believe that. I don't believe it."

Police said that they are searching for two more suspects and that the investigation is ongoing.

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