The convicted violent sex offender arrested in connection with the rape of a woman inside the bathroom of a Manhattan sports bar over the weekend allegedly screamed "I am going to rape you" and threatened to kill the victim after he pushed her into the stall, according to a criminal complaint.
Rodney Stover, 48, was arraigned Thursday on rape, predatory sex assault and other charges in Saturday's attack at the Turnmill Bar on East 27th Street in Murray Hill. He was arrested Wednesday after walking past that same bar earlier in the morning and being recognized by the owner.
Turnmill bar owner Tom Lucas had been watching surveillance video from the night of the attack for hours when he stepped outside and the suspect walked right past him, he told NBC 4 New York. He called police and followed Stover until officers arrived and cuffed him just blocks away.
Stover was identified by the 23-year-old victim in a lineup. When asked by reporters as he was led from the police station Wednesday if he committed the rape, Stover shook his head no but said nothing else. He was represented at his Thursday arraignment by attorneys from Legal Aid, which doesn't comment on ongoing cases. Stover is due in court again next week.
According to police and court documents, Stover was hiding in one of the stalls inside a women's restroom at the bar Saturday evening, and when a woman emerged from one of the other stalls, he pushed her back in, grabbed her by the throat and raped her. Stover allegedly screamed the threats at her as she was removing her clothes, the complaint said. He then fled the bar.
The level-three sex offender spent decades in prison on felony convictions of a 1990 rape in Pittsburgh and a 1993 rape in Southampton on Long Island, authorities said. He was released from prison just this year, then moved into the Bellevue men's homeless shelter in Murray Hill.
"I don't know how people like that are still allowed to walk on the street," said neighbor Katie Aulcino.