A construction worker from Pennsylvania was charged Friday with brutally beating and attempting to rape a woman in a restroom at Midtown bar after she rejected his advances.
The man, identified as 30-year-old Mbarek Lafrem, of Norwood, Pa., was charged with assault and attempted rape, chief police
spokesman Paul Browne said. Lafrem made statements implicating himself in the beating, Browne said.
Lafrem had been working at a midtown construction site and was staying at a hotel near Social, a three-story bar and lounge on
Co-workers called police after seeing Lafrem in a video walking down the sidewalk after the attack, Browne said.
Police picked up Lafrem on Friday at the construction site.
The woman, a 29-year-old pediatric nurse from Connecticut, was hospitalized with a broken eye socket, broken jaw and other injuries. When she regained consciousness, she told hospital workers she had been attacked.
The woman told police that she had rebuffed attempts by the man to dance with her, said police spokesman Paul Browne. When she went to the women's restroom on the second floor, he followed her and burst into a stall.
The man beat the victim until she was unconscious. There was bloody evidence of the attack left in the bathroom, police said. The victim was discovered by a friend went to look for her after she failed to return to the bar. The friend assumed the victim had simply fallen, and had the bartender go across the street to a firehouse to get EMS help.
Later when the victim regained consciousness, she told staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center that she had been attacked. It was only then, at 5:30 a.m., when police were finally called in.
On Friday the hospital released a statement on behalf of the victim's family saying they wished to "express their sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support they have received." They also said they would not be granting any interviews at this time.
Midtown regulars were horrified at the news.
"I was in shock because it's a very nice place," said passerby Loren Ellis, who said she occasionally goes to Social and described the bathroom as like any other. "It could happen anywhere. We have to be careful."