Woman Beaten and Bitten in Attempted Rape on Central Park West, Police Say (Update: Arrest Made)

A 37-year-old woman was injured fighting off a man who was trying to rip off her clothes around 11 p.m. on July 4.

The woman was walking near 84th Street and Central Park West when the man approached her and tried to engage her in conversation, police said.

“When the victim ignored the male, he threw her to the sidewalk, punched, stomped and bit her about face/head. The male continued to remove her clothing when something startled the male before he fled on foot towards Columbus Ave. The victim was removed to an area hospital in stable condition,” the police statement said.

UPDATE: Police have arrested Desmond Smith, a 32-year-old who lives on 83rd Street, for the crime. He was charged with attempted rape, two counts of sexual abuse, strangulation and assault.

Police say the assailant was a bald black man who is about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, yellow or khaki shorts, black and white sneakers and eyeglasses. Police released the photos above and the surveillance video below.

“Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

All calls are strictly confidential.”

NEWS | 31 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      A lot of bridge and tunnel come to the UWS on July 4th. Would not surprise me if he was from Bronx/Brooklyn/Queens. Great camera image.

      • erica bessette says:

        he lives in an SRO on w 83rd street
        the victim was dropped off by Uber ? why wasn’t she dropped off at her residence ?
        the door man is a hero

        • UWSHebrew says:

          she probably chose Uber Pool, which lets you off on a corner near your destination.

      • Filatura says:

        Can’t blame the boroughs for this creep.
        The article says he lives on 83rd Street.

      • B.B. says:

        No need for “B&T” traffic.

        Skyway men’s homeless shelter is right around the corner at 106 West 83rd and Columbus. Since the address of attacker is being given by media as “West 83rd and Columbus” three guesses where he resides.

        Not long ago same address was also listed as a hostel, not sure if that still continues.

    2. Susan says:

      Do not EVER put this guy back on the street. EVER.

      • Rodger Lodger says:

        Attempts have about half the penalty of completed crimes.
        And as we see from the recent parole of a guy who went out with the purpose of assassinating cops, and killed the first two he found, there is little keeping people locked up in NY forever, even if you repeat “ever” in all caps. Now some murders get life without parole.

      • Che says:

        I stay home July 4’s, always have done. CPW in the 80s is deserted after dark and before dawn. Even self-defenders can be arrested; violence isn’t neat. Best to avoid the drinkers, the druggies and the devil. I’ve been binging on TV crime series “Beck”. Last night I ‘learned’ public rape is seasonal.

    3. Steph says:

      The article says he lives on 83rd street, so he’s a local! Seems very odd. I’m SO glad they caught him!!

      • B.B. says:

        Nothing necessarily “local” about Desmond Smith (the suspect). Aside from his being placed in a homeless shelter on the UWS, we don’t know where he came from prior.

        The UWS from roughly 79th through 96 going from CPW to really RSD is packed with homeless shelters, supportive housing, SROs and so forth. This can (and often does) have an impact upon local blocks.

        • Rob G. says:

          As usual, B.B. pens the most intelligent comment on the thread. Some of our less-informed commenters are too quick to slam anyone who has the balls to criticize the City’s use of the Upper West Side as a dump site for shelters and halfway houses. Many of the people that are places in these shelters have violent pasts (and presents, for that matter) and are a threat to neighborhood residents. We must reverse the practice of concentrating so many of them in our community.

    4. Myron says:

      The alleged perpetrator reportedly lives here, near the crime location. What possible message was “UWSHebrew” trying to convey by insinuating “he was from Bronx/Brooklyn/Queens”?

    5. UWSider says:

      The guy was apprehended. He lives in the Men’s Shelter on 83rd between Columbus and Amsterdam. Why there is a shelter which has criminals in it across from a school is beyond me. Lock this guy up and throw away the key.

    6. UWSHebrew says:

      UPDATE: He lives around the corner in a men’s shelter.

    7. SpeakupNYC says:

      please get this story straight. Rapist lived in men’s homeless shelter on West 83rd st. he has over 12 priors. we’re so sick of the UWS being used as a dumping ground for homeless, drug addicted, mentally ill people. They just wander around the neighborhood, filthy, half naked, screaming. The 20th precinct doesn’t seem to exist -either never shows up or is too late. I caught them sitting in squad car eating and not moving as we reported a crime in progress one block away. These shelters in the middle of our neighborhoods are dangerous, useless, counter-productive and have made NYC the model for how NOT to improve urban quality of life. Put the damn shelters outside the city….NY is huge…land and buildings are available in underpopulated areas. WHAT is the purpose of ruining decent neighborhoods? Who gains from this?

    8. Cyrus says:

      I hope the victim finds the strength to recover both physically and emotionally. What an awful trauma.

      As for the perp, I hope he rots in jail.

    9. jen says:

      How come the police didn’t show up? Isn’t the precinct a block away?

    10. Oona says:

      A big thank you to the Special Victims Crime Team and all the other officers solve this horrifying crime. My hat is off to them today and everyday they work to keep our neighborhoods and homes safe.

    11. robertgery says:

      the sad thing is he’ll most probably get only 1-2 years with good behavior.

      • Volpe says:

        Unless you and I and all decent neighbors in the area do something about this situation, we’ll continue to hear of these episodes. Vote for tougher judges and politicians who actually care about us more than those pervert criminals, and maybe the situation will change over a generation.
        If we only share our views and feelings here but do nothing concrete about it…nothing will change.

        • Dissident says:

          @ volpe (July 10, 2018 at 10:33 am):

          Assuming Pres. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed, do you think the expected direction of the Court in the coming years will have a considerable effect upon such local matters as the one you addressed here?

    12. Volpe says:

      Some lenient judge will let this scum walk sooner than many of us honk (and hope)

    13. Gretchen says:

      Turns out the perp lives in a homeless shelter around the corner. So why isn’t that homeless shelter doing better oversight of its residents. They guy arrested has a criminal history.

    14. BG says:

      A different news site mentioned about the attacker: “He had 12 prior arrests for assault, criminal possession of weapons, drugs, burglary, robbery and grand larceny.”

    15. J says:

      Very scary. Another story mentioned he lives at a men’s shelter nearby. I was not aware of a shelter in that area.

      Glad they caught the guy. Feel terrible for the woman, she could have been anyone’s wife or mother, hope she recovers,

    16. Che says:

      I stay in July 4’s, always have done. That area’s somewhat deserted nights and before daybreak. Even self-defenders can be arrested. Best to avoid the drinkers, the druggies and the devil.