By Patricia Adams
Editor's Note: The family referred to in this story have asked to have their names withheld because of concerns for their safety. Throughout the story we will refer to the family representative who was interviewed by the name of Ms. B.
On Monday afternoon at about 2 p.m., a 19-year-old resident of Hamilton Beach, walking over the bridge with her infant in a carriage, had just made the turn onto Russell Street when she heard a man’s voice say “Excuse me.” When the young woman turned around to see who was talking to her, she was met with a most unwelcome and dangerous situation.
According to the girl’s mother, Ms. B, a long time resident of Hamilton Beach, the man said “disgusting things of a very graphic sexual nature and began groping himself”. The man was described as being in his 30’s, about 5’5", heavy set with a shaved head, big nose and wearing denim pants and a t-shirt. Fearing for her safety and that of her child, Ms. B’s daughter started to run toward her home, less than one block away. She turned back to see if the man was behind her, but he seemed to have just vanished.
When she reached home, the frantic young mother told her sister what had happened. Getting into the car immediately, they searched the area to no avail.
Ms. B said she notified police immediately. “They were here in record time. They searched the area and found nothing.” She said that police informed her that if they had caught the man the only action they could have taken was to give him a summons for disorderly conduct.
The woman said that police told her they would not have been able to arrest the man unless he had exposed himself or actually touched her. “The thing that really eats at me is that I have told my daughter over and over, never to walk along the boardwalk. I always said to stay on the street because people are around.”
Now Ms. B says she is very concerned over the fact that this could happen again to someone else who might not be lucky enough to get away. “Let’s face it. If a man could come up to a woman with a baby carriage and say these things to her, there has to be something drastically wrong with him.”
She further urges anyone who sees a man fitting the description to call the police right away. “I believe this man lives right here in our neighborhood. Years ago everyone knew everyone here, but now, with all the new houses being built and sold, we have a lot of new people.”
“I want to make my neighbors aware of what happened here today,” said Ms. B. “Let them know that there could be this type of predator in our midst. I would hate to have anything like this happen again. Not to anyone.”
Ms. B said she strongly believes that the man could resurface in Hamilton at any time. “Look at the way this happened. You think this guy just came from out of nowhere? I am sure he wasn’t just hanging out in broad daylight, with no jacket, no car, nothing, waiting for a victim to pass by,” she said with resolve. “I believe he saw my daughter coming over the bridge and went out to get her. He’s sick and if he’s living somewhere around here, he’ll be found.”
Anyone seeing a man who fits this description is urged to call police immediately. The number for the 106 Precinct is 718-845-2211.