Police have arrested a teenage boy who they say is responsible for at least two sexual assaults on women in Queens.
The 15-year-old boy's name is not being released because he is a juvenile. Police said Monday he lives in Springfield Gardens and has been identified as the attacker in two incidents.
"I've never heard of a 15-year-old doing that," said Lawrence Scott, a resident in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood where the boy lives. "A 15-year-old doing that is unheard of. It's surprising to me."
Detectives have linked five separate assaults as part of the same pattern that began in September.
The teen suspect has been charged with two counts of attempted rape, one count of attempted sex abuse and one count of sex abuse.
Prosecutors said they chose to charge the boy in Queens criminal court rather than family court because of the severity of the crimes, and that he made statements implicating himself in the crimes.
But the boy's attorney disagreed, saying police improperly collected statements because of his age.
The attorney, Roger Archibald, added, "I think at the core of this is the fact that a 15-year-old doesn't belong in criminal court. He belongs in family court."
According to prosecutors, the teen approached his first victim at about 1:18 a.m. on Oct. 9 and punched her in the face repeatedly, causing her to fall. He kept punching her and then pulled her pants and underwear down, before sexually abusing her. She suffered severe bruising, cuts, head injuries and a broken nose that required surgery.
In the second attack, prosecutors said he approached his 24-year-old victim from behind at about 7:15 p.m. as she walked down the street. He began punching her repeatedly, and continued after she fell down. He is accused of scratching at her legs, trying to remove clothing. She also suffered severe cuts and bruises.
The 15-year-old was picked out of two lineups.
Sophia Woodard, a resident of Springfield Gardens, said while she feels for the sex assault victims, said the defendant should be punished as a juvenile, not as an adult.
"I think he needs psychiatric help," said Woodard. "I don't think jail would be the answer. Jail will probably make him worse, and he will probably come out much more violent."
The teen defendant remains jailed on $150,000 bail.