3 Men Questioned in Sex Attack of Woman Leaving Queens Church, Police Say - NBC New York

3 Men Questioned in Sex Attack of Woman Leaving Queens Church, Police Say

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    Three men are in police custody being questioned in connection with a sex attack of a woman leaving church. Michael George reports. (Published Friday, July 14, 2017)

    Three people are in custody and being questioned in connection with the sex attack and robbery of a woman as she left a church service in Queens earlier this week, police said Thursday. 

    Members of the Celestial Church of Christ marched, arm-in-arm to the scene of the assault Thursday and offered a prayer for the victim.  

    All of the men in custody are under 20 years old, police said. No charges have been filed yet, but police said they picked up the men based on surveillance video retrieved from the Jamaica crime scene. They're still looking for a fourth man seen in the surveillance video. 

    The 50-year-old woman was walking to the subway Tuesday after attending Celestial Church of Christ on Liberty Avenue when two men put a gun to her head and forced her to the ground behind a garbage truck, police have said.

    At least two other men joined, and they made the victim perform a sexual act on them, according to police. 

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    They stole her purse, which contained money, cards and a cellphone, police said. The suspects weren't happy with the amount of money the woman had and they ordered her to take her clothes off, according to police.

    The desperate woman screamed out a falsehood, "I'm HIV positive! You can't," which likely kept her from being raped, according to pastor Kehinde Oyetund. 

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    The suspects fled the scene and the victim ran back to the church, screaming out for the pastor.

    "I'm downstairs in the office and I heard her screaming," Oyetund said. "She was crying and shivering."

    The victim was then able to call authorities. 

    Oyetund said she's doing as well as she can be given the nature of the attack. 

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    Many women who belong to the church are terrified to walk the streets alone. Others are so afraid they've stopped attending services altogether. 

    "They've not been coming to church," said Bose Oyetunde. "Of course they would be scared, they're still scared." 

    "I'm scared to death," she said. 

    The church has reached out to the woman who was attacked to support her and let her know she's not alone. 

    "My husband and I have been able to get in touch with her," Oyetunde said. "Talking to her, praying together with her." 

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