Prosecutors say a 26-year-old Bronx man is responsible for a string of lewd sex acts that terrorized female subway riders over a period of three years.
Darnell Hardware is accused of rubbing his genitals against three different women aboard crowded subway trains between 2002 and 2005.
The Manhattan District Attorney alleges Hardware’s first offense took place in 2002 when he was 17 years old and riding on an uptown Lexington Avenue express train between 14th and 42nd streets.
With early morning commuters packing the train, Hardware pressed himself against a young woman and deposited his bodily fluid on her, the indictment says.
That incident was allegedly followed by two more subway masturbation episodes in 2005 -- one during the evening rush aboard a No. 1 train and the other on the Lexington Avenue line in the morning.
In each case, the suspect escaped through the train doors after the lewd acts.
On Tuesday, Hardware pleaded not guilty to charges including sexual abuse.
In January, he was compelled to surrender his DNA after he was convicted of an unrelated drug charge.
Earlier this month, Hardware’s DNA results came back matching the bodily fluid deposited on the subway riders victimized between 2002 and 2005.
Hardware is facing accusations of similar subway sex crimes in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
"These are our wives and sisters, mothers and daughters, colleagues and friends, and they should not ride the subway in fear of being sexually assaulted,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement.
Bail was set for $7,500, but Hardware was already in custody on other separate charges, the district attorney said. Messages were left for his attorney for comment.