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Rapist Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison For East River Park Attack

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Paul Niles
Paul Niles.

A 30-year old man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for brutally raping a female jogger in East River Park two years ago.

The ordeal happened in November of 2015 near the East River Park bandshell. Prosecutors said Paul Niles dragged the victim by her hair from the footpath near Jackson Street into the amphitheater and assaulted her. He then stole the woman’s phone and credit card, and used the credit card to make purchases at a bodega in Brooklyn.

Niles was convicted of first degree rape, second degree robbery, as well as second degree strangulation by a Manhattan jury last month. A judge sentenced him to 40 years, plus 20-years of post-release supervision.

District Attorney Cy Vance said, “This was a brutal stranger assault, and I commend the victim for her bravery in bringing her attacker to justice, as well as the prosecutors and members of law enforcement who worked tirelessly on this case. According to a report on runner safety, more than 40 percent of women have experienced harassment while jogging. Female runners should be able to engage in this activity without fear of being threatened, sexually assaulted, or worse.”

When the attack happened in 2015, local residents complained about poor lighting in East River Park. Although the city installed new lighting as a result, we just heard from a reader today who said the new fixtures are not working. The reader warned, “It’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.” We’ll be looking into the issue.


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