NYPD has arrested two suspects in three sexual assault incidents committed in Riverside Park this week, plus a related forcible-touching incident on June 25th at 111th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side.
At a press conference Friday morning, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig, provided updated details on the attacks and the charges against “two sexual predators,” he said, who were taken into custody on Thursday.
One of the incidents occurred at around 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning, July 20th, inside Riverside Park South at 59th Street, Essig said. A woman was walking in the park when a man allegedly approached her, tackled her and grabbed her breasts. When the woman attempted to call 911, the man, who was described as wearing a red shirt and a multicolored baseball cap, stole her phone. During the struggle, the woman pulled a chain from the suspect’s neck. The chain was recovered by police at the scene.
Video evidence showed the man fleeing on a bicycle, Essig explained. On Thursday afternoon, NYPD officers spotted a man fitting the description and placed him in custody.
The suspect was identified as Tatchiem Noubissi Luc, 39, who has no prior criminal record. Essig said Noubissi Luck made “incriminating statements” about leaving his chain at the scene. A search of his residence turned up the victim’s cell phone and the red shirt, Essig said. The woman later identified him in a lineup.
Noubissi Luc was charged with first-degree attempted rape, third-degree robbery, first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree assault, said Essig.
Jhonatan Cortes-Lopez, a 21 year-old man with no prior criminal record, was taken into custody Thursday evening, Essig said.
Cortes-Lopez is the alleged perpetrator of two sexual assaults in Riverside Park on Tuesday July 18th [previously reported as Wednesday], and a forcible-touching incident on June 25th, Essig said.
At around 4:40 p.m. on July 18, Cortes-Lopez allegedly approached a woman inside Riverside Park between 79th and 80th Street, grabbed her breasts and made explicit statements to her. He then fled on a bicycle, Essig said.
Later Tuesday, around 10:00 p.m. another woman, a female jogger on the bike path at 89th Street inside Riverside Park, was allegedly grabbed from behind, by a man on a bicycle fitting Cortes-Lopez’s description, who pushed her to the ground. The man then allegedly pulled down her shorts and made “similar explicit statements,” according to Essig. She screamed and he fled on his bicycle. He was described as a wearing a jersey with the number 40 on it.
On Thursday evening, NYPD used video evidence to track Cortes-Lopez to a building on 125th Street. They found him wearing a number 40 jersey. Police took Cortes-Lopez into custody. Essig said he identified himself as connected to the Riverside Park attacks as well as a forcible-touching incident that occurred on June 25th near the corner of 111th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
Victims of all three incidents identified Cortes-Lopez in a lineup. He was charged with three counts of forcible touching, first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree assault, according to Essig, who credited the NYPD’s Special Victims Division and multiple other NYPD units for the swift arrests.
Update July 28, 2023
This story has been updated to correct the names of both suspects. WSR’s initial report was based on information provided by the NYPD at the time. The names have now been corrected based on information from the courts, the DA’s office and the Department of Correction.