AMAZING STORIES: Girl, 11, Guest at Bar Mitzvah, Is Raped in a Queens Synagogue - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the March 2012 Juniper Berry Magazine

AMAZING STORIES: Girl, 11, Guest at Bar Mitzvah, Is Raped in a Queens Synagogue

September 15, 1974 The New York Times An 11-year-old girl attending a bar mitzvah in a Queens synagogue was allegedly raped yesterday afternoon by a 15-year-old youth who had been under psychiatric care since he was 9 years old, authorities said.

The suspect, who was described s an outpatient of the Creedmoor State Hospital for the mentally ill assaulted and attempted to strangle the child in a basement rest room at the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West in Middle Village while about 100 guest were celebrating at the party on the first floor, authorities said.

The teen-ager, they added, worked part time as a door-to-door salesman and had been taking orders for Christmas cards in the upper middle-income neighborhood around the synagogue, which is at 63-25 Dry Harbor Road, between Juniper Boulevard North and 82d Road.

At about 12:40pm according to the police he walked into the synagogue and asked directions to the rest rooms.

Dressed ink blue denims, a maroon sweater and white running shoes, the youth aroused no suspicions among the guests he talked with an was told the rest rooms were in the basement, the police said.

Girl Followed

As he received the directions the 11-year-old girl walked past toward the basement stairway, ad the suspect was told she was going in the proper direction. He followed her downstairs.

Alone with the child in the hallway, the youth confronted her, pushed her into the women's room, threatened to kill her if she screamed, ad forced her to disrobe, the police said.

After the alleged rape, the suspect began tightening a pair of pantyhose around the girl's neck, the police said. But then he freed the girl, went back upstairs and left the synagogue.

Only when the girl ran from the basement, naked and screaming, did the guests become aware of the assault.

Police officers responding to her parent's call to the 112th precinct station house on Austin Street in Forest Hills scoured the neighborhood for about an hour before the suspect was arrested. Two members of the precinct anticrime squad, Gustave Wiegmann and Donald Birch, spotted the youth about a block from the synagogue, at 63d Avenue and 83d Road, and took him into custody without incident.

His identity was withheld because of his age. He was booked on juvenile delinquency charges of rape, sodomy, and attempted murder.

After the attack, the girl was taken by her parents to North Shore Hospital in Manhasssat, L.I., for an examination by the family physician. The police said that she definitely was in a state of shock, but otherwise her condition was listed as good by the hospital last night.

District Attorney Nicholas Ferraro of Queens said last night that his office would begin a thorough investigation of the suspect's medical history and of the reasons for release from Creedmoor. We want to know whether this could have been prevented, one of Mr. Ferraro's assistants said.

Lived with Family

The suspect has lived with his family in Jackson Heights and been under medical supervision since his release earlier this year from Creedmoor, according to Mr. Ferraro's office.

For the previous five years, he was said to have been treated at the hospital, both on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Creedmoor, situated at 80-45 Winchester Boulevard ink Queens Village, is under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Hygiene. That office has come under repeated criticism this year during a New York Times investigation into deficiencies in its program aimed at rehabilitating mental patients and disturbed adolescents by releasing them from large state institutions into the community and smaller facilities in neighborhoods around the city.

Details of the suspect's emotional problems were not immediately available, but authorities said that their preliminary inquiries did not reveal that the suspect had a prior history of sexual or other assaults.